Lynne Wester
The Donor Guru



If you’ve ever imagined having cocktails with the lovechild of Mrs. Maisel and Dave Chapelle, then you probably have met Lynne Wester.


She delivers thought provoking fundraising lessons with a keen focus on the donor experience. Her southern accent and crucial honesty resonate in rooms large and small, locally and across the globe. She’ll happily wake your audience up in the morning and keep them laughing in the post lunch slot too.


Attendees leave her keynotes and sessions with tangible takeaways, renewed energy, and the ability to affect change in their organizations. Her most common evaluation feedback is attendees begging for more. Learn more about hiring Lynne to speak.


Lynne and her teammates at the Donor Relations Guru Group lead with gratitude and partner with nonprofits on a variety of initiatives from assessment through implementation. Her work motivates and inspires countless fundraisers to do more for their donors to create amazing donor experiences.

She is regularly featured in publications such as the Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and CASE Currents and has authored three books of her own on fundraising. Lynne received her B.A. from the University of South Carolina, holds a Masters in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy from BayPath University, and proudly sports a DUCKtorate from the Disney Institute.



Learn more about Shannon

Jan McGuire


Jan brings more than 25 years of client relations and customer service expertise to the Donor Relations Guru Group. With a strong eye for detail and an attentive ear for listening, Jan enjoys helping others maximize their individual strengths to build highly functioning, harmonious teams. She has an extensive background in events, planning and managing everything from conferences to black-tie galas.  She recently completed a decade of service as the director of Donor Relations at Auburn University.

Shannon Russell


Shannon is the “keeper” of calendars, bookings, invoices, assists in the planning and execution of all 4 Pillars conferences, and is the general “go-to” contact for the DRG Group.  If you have a question, she will have (or will find!) the answer.Prior to this position, Shannon worked for Cook Children's Hospital Foundation, Origin Bank, and Southwest Airlines. She holds a bachelor’s from Texas A&M University and a master’s in Journalism / Marketing from the University of North Texas.

Ashley Rowe
Chief Marketing Officer

Ashley has extensive experience as a nonprofit marketing and communications professional. Prior to her role with the DRG Group, Ashley worked with development shops in higher education and healthcare as a writer, editor, project manager, content creator, and managed print and digital communications. Ashley is a passionate storyteller who loves finding new and innovative ways to connect with donors and audiences.

Matthew Helmer


With an extensive background in event production, fundraising, constituent engagement and team development, Matthew is committed to elevating the way people experience organizations. Matthew’s philosophy is that every experience should be designed from a meaningful, well-articulated purpose – without it, the moment becomes just something that happens. Currently, he serves as Assistant Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for University Advancement at Colorado State University.

Angela Joens


Angie has 30 years of experience in management, development and stewardship. She is currently the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Development Outreach at University of California Davis, as well as a non-profit consultant, and executive coach. She also speaks nationally on topics related to stewardship, development and leadership.  She has been featured in several industry publications including CASE Currents Magazine and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

Sarah Sims


Always one to face a challenge head-on and to never take the easy road, Sarah has been responsible for building new and innovative donor relations programs from the ground up at two different Big 12 Universities. With more than 12 years of experience in nonprofit management, frontline fundraising, board relations and communications, Sarah has spearheaded the creation of initiatives aimed to not only steward past gifts, but to inspire future philanthropic giving. 

Tyler Wessel

Creative Director

Tyler is a multi-award winning graphic designer with experience in design, video editing, and event management. With an eye for vibrant colors and thoughtful layout, Tyler has worked with top higher education and non-profit organizations on engaging donor relations collateral, including donor impact reports, event photo books, campaign case statements, program branding, stationery, and more. With a knack for presentation and making the boring look more interesting, Tyler will help bring your next donor relations materials to life.

Maureen Donnelly


Maureen has significant experience in strategic planning, operations, stewardship communications, and relationship management. She is known for her expertise in identifying talent and putting together high functioning teams, for her skills in mentoring and advancing staff talent, and for her ability to implement donor relations programs that utilize creative approaches to stewarding, cultivating, and conveying to donors the impact of their philanthropy.

Mary Solomons


Mary has been in the advancement field for more than 30 years. From interactive events to personalized donor outreach, she is known for instilling an inventive and innovative twist to the task at hand. In 2014 Mary added “gift officer” to her resume, demonstrating a knack for identifying and cultivating major gift prospects. Mary is a sought-after conference speaker who is active with CASE, serving on the faculty of the 2007, 2009, 2014, and 2015 Donor Relations Conferences as well as a speaker at the summer Institute for Advancement Services in July 2011.