Copy of 4 Pillars of the Donor Experience Conference & Behavior-Based Donor Relations Work


MARCH 21-22, 2022​



Loyola University - Chicago 

Kasbeer Hall

25 E. Pearson Street

Chicago, IL 60611 

The DRG Group's renowned conference—The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations—teaches you our proven framework for successful donor relations programs.

The Donor Relations Guru Group has reimagined our two-day regional conferences based on Lynne Wester's book, The Four Pillars of Donor Relations, to deliver an interactive learning 

experience perfect for those who are new to donor relations and the experienced professional. 


Filled with fresh content and real-life examples, this conference will teach you the basics of donor relations as well as next practices and new industry trends.


The first day of the conference will be dedicated to the Four Pillars of Donor Relations—acknowledgment, stewardship, recognition, and engagement. Lynne and her team will bring each topic to life as they share personal stories of tragedies, triumph, ridicule, and redemption.


You’ll leave inspired and energized, equipped with tangible ideas that you can implement immediately with any size staff or budget.

On day two, we'll dive into the dynamic world of events in our brand new, half-day workshop. The pandemic has changed so many facets of our work—perhaps none more permanently than how we gather and engage with donors. So, where do we go from here? How do we blend the elements of in-person events of the past with lessons learned from the Year of the Virtual Event? Join us and explore how to design meaningful donor experiences no matter the format—in-person, hybrid, or virtual.



One of the best conferences I've been to. The mix of practical advice, statistics, best practices, and humor left me eager to return to my team and begin rethinking how we do our work.


I absolutely loved this conference. It provided me with the foundational knowledge as a brand new donor relations and stewardship professional, allowed for networking opportunities, and exposed me to a variety of examples and ideas to take back to my university.


Best conference I've ever attended. This was my second time and I learned even more! I brought my leadership team this year and it has opened the door for a culture change in donor relations! We are blown away!

DAY 1: MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2022

10:00 AM | Introduction: Roadmap to the 4 Pillars

10:15 AM | Pillar One: Acknowledgments

A good acknowledgment is about more than just saying, "thank you." In this session, we'll teach you how to craft expressions of gratitude that will surprise and delight your donors. We'll discuss gift acceptance and receipts, thank you letters, pledge reminders, behavior-based thank you's (e.g., first-time donors), and more.

11:30 AM | Break

11:45 AM | Pillar Two: Stewardship and Reporting

Discover unique ways to show donors the true impact of their generosity. Demonstrating transparency and remaining donor-focused are key. We'll discuss broad-based and individual impact reports, how to prioritize your work based on audience and resources, and the components that go into an effective report.

1:00 PM | Lunch: Roundtable Discussions (Lunch is included in your conference registration)

2:00 PM | Pillar Three: Recognition

Events, giving societies, public displays - there are many ways to recognize donors (and a few you should avoid). We'll discuss how to create meaningful experiences that will make lasting impressions and leave donors wanting more.

3:15 PM | Break

3:30 PM | Pillar Four: Engagement

A donor is engaged once they are emotionally invested and committed to an organization. In this session, we'll show you what it takes to get them there. We'll share examples and ideas that you can implement at your organization to connect donors to your mission and turn them into loyal supporters.

4:45 PM | Wrap-Up

DAY 2: TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2022

10:00 AM - 1:30 PM - Half-Day Events Workshop

Our events now and in the future have been forever affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year and a half or more without in-person gatherings, our fundamental way of gathering has changed—for your organization and for your donors. Meaningful experiences are designed with purpose and connection, not just gathering wealthy donors in a room without a thread of connectedness beyond the organization. We will look at the stories our events are telling—to both attendees and non-attendees—and explore current societal norms around events, reflective of the times.

What you’ll learn:

  • Strategies for the ever-changing event landscape, including what our attendees need, want, and expect from our organizations

  • How to design memorable, purpose-driven experiences—online, hybrid, and in-person 

  • Techniques for making events more inclusive and accessible


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Member Pricing

Day 1: $300

Day 2: $200

Full Conference: $450

*Member pricing is for DRG VIP Subscription holders. Use your VIP code at checkout to receive member pricing.

Regular Pricing

Day 1: $350

Day 2: $250

Full Conference: $550

Conference Registration includes:

Day 1 - 6 hours of instruction, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments

Day 2 - 3 hours of instruction, breakfast, and refreshments


Conference Location:

Loyola University - Chicago 

Kasbeer Hall

25 E. Pearson Street

Chicago, IL 60611 


Hotel Information:

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

540 Michigan Ave

Chicago, IL 60611

Room Rates:
Starting at $165/night

Click here for our group rate

COVID-19 Precautions

As we return to in-person events, our team is actively monitoring the situation involving COVID-19. Our top priority is your health and safety at our conferences. As of right now, all of our conferences are scheduled as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and update all registered attendees should that change. We have taken the following steps to keep you safe during our conference: 

  1. We continue to monitor announcements and updates from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Centers for Disease Control and will take our guidance from them and other key agencies.

  2. At the 4 Pillars conference, we will institute the following policies and procedures:​

    • All attendees must where a mask except when actively eating or drinking

    • Attendees will be socially distanced as much as possible 

    • We will be providing disinfectant wipes and recommending hand washing as much as possible

    • We are encouraging participants to make it a “handshake-free” meeting

    • We will update these policies as needed and notify all attendees of any changes

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Lynne Wester

Principal and Founder

Donor Relations Guru

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Matthew Helmer

DRG Consultant

Assistant Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for University Advancement

Colorado State University

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Sarah Sims

DRG Consultant

Executive Director of Donor Engagement​

University of Houston


Grab your copy of the book that started it all—The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations—and discover why Lynne's 4 Pillars framework is the guide that every donor relations shop needs. A brilliant duet to the 4 Pillars Conference, this book contains a dozen examples of creative communications with donors from real institutions and 60 pages of appendices offering specific advice on everything from what to include in a gift acceptance policy to donor event management. Learn the framework during the conference, and keep the book as a reference for everyone at your organization for years to come!



Our sponsors allow us to keep our prices low while still providing you with the best experience possible. Thank you to our friends who partner with us to make these conferences and workshops possible. We couldn't do it without you! Click on their logos to learn more about the incredible work they're doing. 

Lunch Sponsor:

Printing Sponsor:

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