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Shining A Light On the New Year Ahead



Anyone else ready to welcome the New Year—the new decade?!—with open arms, a champagne toast, a little swagger, and a whole lot of sparkle and shine? While we're grateful for so much that happened this year and we're still celebrating our team's accomplishments, we can't help but get excited about an incredible year ahead. Here's what our team is most looking forward to in 2020:


Lynne Wester, Principle and Founder of Donor Relations Guru

In 2020 I'm looking forward to rediscovering the science of our work and helping folks around the world unleash their donor relations potential on their organizations and for the benefit of their donors. 

I'm also looking forward to exploring more courses for our audience who are hungrier for more best and next practices content than ever. I look forward to conversations about what is next and what you need in order to bolster our profession and help as much as we can. 

In 2020 I'm thrilled to look into new technologies to make our work better and to streamline some of the manual processes we have inherited over the last decade. 



Matthew Helmer, DRG Group member & Assistant Vice President of University Advancement at Colorado State University

2020 is a historic year for Colorado State University, as we reach the finish line of a record-breaking campaign and celebrate our 150th anniversary. What a remarkable moment in time to be a storyteller! Sharing the stories of how our donors have transformed CSU through their generosity is one of the greatest joys of our profession, and I can’t wait to shout these from the mountaintop!

In the New Year, I also look forward to discovering new ways to connect with the purpose of my work. Whether through conversations with donors, teammates and students, or experiencing the process of bringing a collaborative new idea to life, our days are filled with opportunities to be reminded of our why — if we mindfully make space for the connection.



Jan McGuire, DRG Group member

I’m looking forward to meeting more donor relations professionals in 2020! As the 4 Pillars Conference crisscrosses the country, I’m looking forward to getting to know more of you and learn more about your shops, ambitions and successes!


I’m looking forward to the next chapter of best practices in donor relations.  As our profession continues to play a more significant role in fundraising from year to year, I look forward to seeing how donor relations and stewardship professionals respond to that challenge.



Sarah Sims, DRG Group member & Executive Director of Donor Relations at the University of Florida

In 2020, I am looking forward to trying out some new technology platforms to increase personalization in our donor communications - trying, sampling, testing, and surveying - some of my favorite things!

As my team has grown and developed over the last few years, it's time to think about Donor Relations 2.0. We need to design how we will close our current $3B campaign in 18 months and how we will steward and engage these donors. Cheers to new new challenges and a new phase of campaign life!



Angie Joens, DRG Group member & Assistant Vice Chancellor of Development Outreach at the University of California Davis

We will publicly launch our second comprehensive campaign and I am so excited about it.  We have a clever new campaign brand to roll out.  We have the largest group of volunteers in our history to assist us.  We have several transformational gifts that have been committed.  We have exciting projects for donors to fund.  We have created systems and processes to ensure our work is done at the highest level.  We have been building strong donor engagement.  We have recruited some of the country's best talent to help us achieve our goals.  We are focused on impact and what this campaign can do for our university, California and the world.  Campaigns are exciting and exhausting.  So in 2020 I am looking forward to creating a campaign launch event that inspires, motivates, encourages and moves our donors.


I am also looking forward to some in-depth research of our donor relations programs and events.  We have spent the past several years building a program and we have more data to make decisions about what to continue, what to change, and what to stop.  We also have an amazing data analyst on our team that can help us evaluate and measure our efforts.  So, in 2020 I am looking forward to incorporating this data to build an even stronger program. 


I am looking forward to meeting colleagues who are new to our industry.  Those that are eager to learn. Open to new ideas.  Ready to innovate.  Prepared to take on the world. 


What are you looking forward to in 2020? What goals do you have? What challenges are you facing? We'd love to hear your thoughts below.


Cheers, and Happy New Year!

The DRG Group


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