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's Philosophy
Play Video

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.



MSH headshot 1_2022.jpeg

Matthew Helmer
Consultant & Strategist

As a Consultant and Strategist, Matthew is committed to elevating the way donors experience mission-driven organizations. With an extensive background in experience design, constituent engagement, fundraising strategy, and team development, Matthew partners with people to help them dream big – and then acquire the tools to achieve those aspirations. With decades of experience as a donor relations practitioner and organizational leader, Matthew brings a unique perspective to each project – ever ready to challenge the status quo and inspire teams to strive for excellence in every pursuit. 

Angela Joens
Consultant & Strategist

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. 

S. Sims Headshot.jpg

Sarah Sims, CFRE
Consultant & Strategist

Known for being a “builder”, Sarah has been responsible for building new and innovative donor relations programs from the ground up at multiple educational institutions. She currently heads the comprehensive Donor Engagement Team at the University of Houston. Sarah is always looking for ways to turn challenges into opportunities. She believes that every team member is a fundraiser no matter their title, and every donor relations initiative should be designed to impact the fundraising bottom line. 

HeadshotEdit (1)_edited.jpg

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.


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.


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.

Learn more about Shannon


Liz Menne

Liz has built her career around supporter/customer experience to help cultivate loyalty and generate revenue. She started at the University of Miami, her alma mater, as a customer service representative and has been crushing projects ever since. She currently is the ODDER Specialist at EverTrue/Thankview, holds her PMP Certification, and is an associate for the DRG Group. 



Holly Kizer

Holly has extensive experience in non-profit and higher education leadership managing donor relations, stewardship, campaign events, fundraising and donor communications. Holly has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Vanderbilt University and is passionate about helping organizations streamline, develop, and brand their organization with a donor-centered focus. She has presented on topics at ADRP and brings a creative flair to stewardship and donor relations to further engage donors. 

Christine photo - DRG (2).jpg

Christine McGuire

Christine is an experienced development professional with over 20 years of experience working in Donor Relations, with a demonstrated history of working in a complex educational system as well as in hospital & health care environments. She is a strong community builder and is skilled in all facets of stewardship and donor relations. Christine’s strengths lie in building teams, developing programs and evaluating your overall donor relations enterprise. 

Melissa Lukesic Head shot.png

Melissa Carrera

Melissa arrived in donor relations almost a decade ago with a variety of experience in hospitality, sport, database management, catering and events, travel, and conference planning.Often called the “heart” of the team, Melissa brings her thoughtfulness and high emotional intelligence to the team she leads and the one she serves. Melissa currently leads the donor engagement, alumni engagement, and annual giving team at University
of Colorado Denver.


J Drish Pic 1.jpg

Jennie Drish

Jennie has over 15 years of experience in higher education, primarily focusing on alumni and parent relations, reunions and events, development communications, and customer service.  She has worked at a number of institutions including Loyola University Maryland, Vanderbilt University, and Simmons University.  Jennie has a master’s in Higher Education Administration with a focus on Institutional Advancement from Vanderbilt University.