The Hub
June 2019 Volume 17 Issue 6

In This Issue...

Upcoming Webinars

Donor Relations for the Performing Arts
Tuesday, July 16

Building Your Toolkit: Making the Resources for Your Greater Advancement Team
Tuesday, August 6

View all 2019 Webinars

2019 Regional Events

5th Annual ADRP Midwest Regional Forum
Thursday, July 25
Evanston, Illinois

Register Today

Help us plan a regional event!

Contact the ADRP Office if you'd like to help plan a Regional Event in your area in 2019 or to learn more.

ADRP Resources

Network: Take advantage of the Member Directory in the Member Center

Support ADRP: Explore Sponsorship Opportunities

Job Search: Visit the ADRP Career Center

Learn: Register for a Webinar


Connect with ADRP Online


In Service: The Column of the ADRP President

Jen McGrath
Senior Director, Donor Relations & Stewardship
MIT Resource Development

In 2015 (though it seems like ages ago), I wrote an article for The Hub about Building a Lifetime Giving Society. Fast forward four years: I'm at another institution thinking not about building but about growing — expanding, enhancing, deepening — a lifetime giving society.

About two months ago, MIT formally convened our Charter Society members for the first time since the public launch of our campaign, and I had my first opportunity to see this group and their dynamic up close. We had a weekend’s-worth of events, including a morning program focused on artificial intelligence with a round-robin-style Q&A with select faculty, an immersive innovation luncheon featuring student and alumni inventions, an evening black-tie gala, and a scholarship brunch the next day.

It took a village to pull off this extravaganza. We had barely caught up on our sleep and barely finished saying "never again," when we began thinking about what comes next. Foremost on our minds was not how to outdo ourselves with the next gala, but rather what we might do in between to foster deeper, more meaningful relationships between these donors and MIT, and among the donors themselves.

And I know we’re not alone in doing this kind of analysis, reflection, and renovation right now. Much like the era of outdated donor walls, the era of isolated donor dinners may be at its end. (Be sure to check out the May Webinar about donor walls from our colleagues at Northwell Health if you missed the original airing.) In both cases, engagement — not just recognition — is the ultimate goal. But what does “engagement” mean and how will we know when we have it?

One of my first answers to that question (and nearly every other "what will you do for donors who give to X, or ask about Y, or want to Z" question) is "it depends on the donor."

A big part of it is simply having time to develop a donor engagement plan. It takes time to connect with our prospect research teammates and relationship managers, and to review call reports or past correspondence. It takes time to get to know the donor and their interests and motivations. It takes time to learn about our institutions and their hidden gems — spaces, people, events — and even more time to marshal all of that knowledge and couple it with our own innate sense of empathy, creativity, and advocacy. (Read on for Alissa Stallings' terrific take on our advocacy role, which follows her post to our member listserv regarding H.R. 1260.)

At MIT, we've developed an individual stewardship plan program to help us create and maintain a knowledge source shortcut. Soon we'll be posting a new position that will orchestrate our efforts to collect and apply donor feedback, which will help us inform and refine our program priorities — especially our strategies for recognizing and engaging our giving society members.

Donor engagement plans aim to keep donors connected with the mission and committed to the continuing success of the institution. A plan might include insider communication, access to key leaders, or unique experiences. But figuring out what the plan looks like for each donor is what makes us all masters of the pixie dust.

How are you thinking about recognition at your organization? What evolution have you seen in the course of your career? As always, I'd love to hear from you directly on LinkedIn and @JenNesbit. Please also engage with ADRP on Facebook, LinkedIn and @ADRPtweets.

Member Perspective: Advocacy & H.R. 1260

Alissa Stallings, CFRE
Director of Donor Relations
University of California, San Francisco

What I love about donor relations is that it is fundamentally multidisciplinary. Whether you are a storyteller, an editor, a graphic designer, a signage expert, an event planner, a consultant on gift agreements, or you excel at choosing the perfect turn of phrase for an acknowledgment letter, or you are a data or financial wizard, or perhaps you track down that last scholarship recipient or convince that faculty member to spend their funding, or you are able to create the perfect recognition gift out of thin air, there is something for just about everyone in our profession and it all serves the common cause of philanthropy.

Read More

From the Archives: The Form and Function of Recognition Societies (2015)

Debbie Meyers
Senior Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship
University of Maryland

Considering changes and upgrades to our recognition strategies provides an opportunity to return to the root of recognition. What do we hope to achieve with by recognizing donors in this way? What is the true purpose of a recognition society? To answer these "back to basics" questions, we're pulling from The Hub archives, where Debbie Meyers tackled the subject in May 2015.

An effective recognition society can be one of the strongest, most useful tools in a donor relations toolbox. But like a hammer that can either help build a masterpiece or bang someone’s thumb, a recognition society is just an instrument.

Read More

Member Spotlight

Jackie Sewell professional headshotJackie Sewell
Donor Stewardship Gift Acknowledgement Analyst
University of California, San Diego

ADRP member for one year

How long have you worked in donor relations/stewardship and how did you get involved in this profession?

I have worked in donor relations/stewardship for five years. I originally worked in political organizing and part of those roles involved membership and fundraising. This experience helped me transition to a position as Special Projects Campaign Manager for the San Diego Natural History Museum. At the museum, I held a few roles that helped me develop a breadth of skills in solicitations, appeals, digital and print communications, events, membership, stewardship, gift processing, and reporting. I found that my favorite part was working on stewardship strategies to communicate the impact of donors’ gifts, which led to my current role in Donor and Fund Stewardship at UC San Diego.

Learn More about Jackie Sewell

Pink miami skyline with ADRP 2019 conference theme Turn Up the Heat overlay

2019 ADRP International Conference

Register Today

Registration is now open! Join a cohort of more than 600 stewardship professionals as you attend insightful sessions, power through compelling and relevant workshops, and get your burning questions answered by experts in the profession.

Register Today

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about conference registration.

Awards and Scholarships

Blair Scholarships
Are you or someone you know in need of financial support to attend the conference? This year, ADRP is offering 10 lucky recipients up to $1,000 in reimbursements and a complimentary conference registration. Consider applying or nominating someone for a Blair scholarship!

Learn More

International Stewardship Awards
Did your organization manage a successful project this year? Apply to win one of four available Stewardship awards! The 3rd Annual International Stewardship Awards include stand-out events, digital communications, impact reporting, and new this year: new program!

Recipients of the awards will have their hard work recognized at the conference in front of 600 donor relations professionals. Want to inspire your friends and colleagues? Submit an application today.

Learn More

Latest from the Conference Blog

Be sure to check out our official conference blog for the latest updates and testimonials from past conference attendees about how the International Conference has impacted their lives and careers.

New in the Blog:

Drinking from the ADRP Fire Hydrant
Amanda Barbeau

Cannonball! A Newbie's Perspective
Kathryn Munro

Check out the rest of the 2019 Blog

Register Now for the 5th Annual ADRP Midwest Regional Forum!

July 25, 2019
Northwestern University

Registration is now open for the 2019 ADRP Midwest Regional Forum! Join us for a day dedicated to building stronger relationships, both with your donors and your peers. The Midwest Forum is open to ADRP members as well as non-members.

This one-day event will include breakfast, lunch, networking, and engaging speaker sessions on relationship building, collaboration, and overarching donor relations themes. This is also your chance to build your own network and see old friends from across the Midwest!

Register Today

Check out the Forum Schedule on our website!

Write for The Hub: We Want to Hear from You!

The Hub is seeking article proposals for new monthly issues!

Do you have a success story you would like to share? How did you handle a particular problem or project that seemed insurmountable? Have you discovered effective tactics that help gain a seat at the table? What are your thoughts on best practices or new, emerging ideas that take a donor relations/stewardship program to the next level?

We want to encourage our members—new and experienced—to share their insights, best practices, and what works (or doesn’t work!) when planning their shop’s programming and responsibilities.

We welcome all submissions related to donor relations and stewardship, but we especially encourage ADRP members to step forward and share their expertise and experiences in the profession.

The submission form is available any time you have an article proposal to submit. We have included the webinar topics for each month, in case you would like to tie your article to a specific webinar topic.

Please submit your article proposal today! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) is a nonprofit business league organized under the laws of the State of New Hampshire. Its goals are to offer professional development opportunities, to promote the donor relations and stewardship professions, and to foster networking. ADRP is an international organization with members from all sectors of the non-profit world: education, health care, arts, and community organizations.

Our core organizational values are:
Visionary leadership • Absolute integrity • Member empowerment and connection
Service and program excellence • Responsible philanthropy

View Hub Archives

Return to Top of Page

Hub E-News: Copyright © 2019
Association of Donor Relations Professionals