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April 22-24, 2024

Join the Donor Relations Group in Atlanta
April 22-24, 2024

Get ready for transformative journey into rethinking your donor relations efforts at our 4 Pillars Conference in Atlanta. This conference is an immersive experience spanning three days, where our team of experts will teach you our proven strategies to maximize impact, retain more donors, and increase revenue. 

Unlock the Power of Connection

Day 1 kicks off with a deep dive into The 4 Pillars of Donor Communications—Information, Persuasion, Gratitude, and Impact—you'll unlock the secrets to creating compelling messages that resonate, engage, and inspire action. During this full-day of instruction, you'll learn how to craft communications that place the donor at the forefront—weaving narratives that captivate readers and foster lasting connections.

Revolutionize Your Approach

Dive into the latest trend in donor relations on Day 2 with our morning workshop on "Increasing Donor Retention Through Behavior-Based Donor Relations." Explore innovative strategies to retain and engage donors based on their behaviors instead of gift amounts. These strategies improve donor retention and ensure your organization communicates gratitude and impact with donors at every giving level. 

In the afternoon, join our workshop on "Strategic Fund Management: Compliance, Utilization and Stewardship." We'll discuss the complexities of fund management, from crafting effective gift agreements to fund audit and compliance best practices, to donor-centered stewardship activities, and more. This workshop is for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the role of donor relations in fund management.

Redefine Your Events with Purpose

Day 3 focuses on "Maximizing Impact with Meaningful Purpose-Driven Events." Explore the post-pandemic era of purpose-driven gatherings, where every event is designed around donor interests and tells a compelling story. Discover effective strategies to engage your audience, evaluate success, and achieve a significant return on investment.

This conference is more than professional development—it's a platform for transformation. Gain insights from our team of industry leaders, connect with like-minded professionals, and find inspiration to energize your work. 


Don't miss this opportunity to revolutionize your approach to donor relations and leave a lasting impact on your organization's success. 

Conference Overview


Day 1: The 4 Pillars of Donor Communications

One of the most crucial keys to retaining donors is creating an effective donor communications program that resonates and engages your audience. So how do we go about creating dynamic donor communications? How do we create messages that truly resonate? How do we write with both persuasion and gratitude at the same time? How do we meet demands for print, video, and social content that answers everyone’s needs? And where do we start?

This full day, deep dive into donor communications will teach you:

  • How to effectively tell your story using the 4 Pillars of Donor Communications – Information, Persuasion, Gratitude, and Impact

  • How to create communications donors want to consume and share

  • How to remove the institutional voice and replace it with a donor focused, cause-driven voice

  • When to use certain types of communications over others

  • How to collaborate with organizational communications professionals

  • How to advocate for change and attain buy-in with internal constituencies

  • How to eliminate communications that aren't working

  • Simple changes to transform a mediocre communication into a great one 

  • Tests you can run to evaluate effectiveness of your current communications

  • How to make the donor the hero of your work

  • And much more!​

We'll inspire you with samples of top-tier communications, teach you the same proven strategies we’ve shared with clients all over the world, and equip you with the tools you need to create and implement a winning donor communications strategy at your nonprofit.

Day 2: Morning Workshop — Increasing Donor Retention Through Behavior-Based Donor Relations

Let’s face it - the way we’ve always done it is fading into the background as new efforts emerge. But some shops are still stuck in traditional thanking methods, usually based on gift amounts, to define their communication and recognition efforts. It’s 7 times cheaper to retain the donors you have than to acquire new ones. The reality is, we have finite resources—both with our staff and budgets—and we must strategize ways to satiate many donors with different interests and needs. By developing a program based on donor behaviors, in lieu of arbitrary giving amounts, we can ensure we are communicating gratitude and impact to donors at all levels of giving.

During this half-day workshop, you will learn:

  • How to identify priority donor behaviors you need to reinforce

  • How to craft personal communications for these groups

  • Strategy development to increase donor retention

  • Why behavior-based practices are in alignment with core principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Day 2: Afternoon Workshop — Strategic Fund Management: Compliance, Utilization and Stewardship

The second half of the day is our fund management workshop. We'll focus on the principles of fund compliance, financial utilization and stewardship. Getting the gift in the door is only half of our job in fundraising. From gift agreement all the way through reporting impact, our jobs in donor relations begin with the long-term process of ensuring the funds are spent to maximum capacity in accordance with donor intent, and reported on to the donors. This dedicated workshop will focus on setting the stage with effective and sustainable gift agreements, fund audits and compliance best practices, donor-centered stewardship activities, and much more. We'll explore this complex issue while identifying key partners and data needs. This half-day workshop is for both new and experienced development professionals seeking a deeper understanding of fund management and the role donor relations plays in this crucial space.

During this half-day workshop, you will learn: 

  • How to craft effective and sustainable gift agreements

  • Fund audit and compliance best practices

  • Collaboration with institutional partners on fund management

  • Donor-centered stewardship activities

  • Reporting strategies and best practices


Day 3: Morning Workshop — Maximizing Impact with Meaningful Purpose Driven Events

Our events now and in the future have been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year and a half (or more!) without in-person gatherings, our primary way of gathering has changed. Today's meaningful experiences are designed with purpose and donor interests in mind, not just gathering wealthy donors in a room without a thread of connectedness beyond the organization and their giving. We'll look at the stories our events are telling—to both attendees and non-attendees—and explore current societal norms around donor events.

During this half-day workshop, you will learn: 

  • How to identify and leverage an event's purpose to determine audience, budget, and format

  • Effective ways to bring narratives to life at your events through proven storytelling techniques and frameworks

  • How to engage your audience through virtual events

  • Meaningful metrics to help you evaluate your success and ROI

CFRE Eligibility: This conference has been approved for 15 total CFRE points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.




April 22-24, 2024

$1,200 USD

Full Conference
April 22: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

April 23: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

April 24: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Lunch is included on Days 1 & 2.


April 22, 2024

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

$500 USD

Day 1 

The 4 Pillars of Donor Communications

Lunch is included.


April 23, 2024

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

$500 USD

Day 2

Morning Workshop:

Increasing Donor Retention Through Behavior-Based Donor Relations

Afternoon Workshop:
Strategic Fund Management: Compliance, Utilization and Stewardship

Lunch is included.


April 24, 2024

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

$250 USD

Day 3

Morning Workshop: 

Maximizing Impact with Meaningful Purpose Driven Events

Lunch is not included.

Full Conference Experience

April 22-24, 2024

$1,200 USD

Bring your team!

Save 10% on 3 or more full conference registrations with the code TEAM10.

Lunch is included on Day 1 and Day 2. There will be no lunch provided on Day 3.

A light breakfast will be served each morning. 

Please note any dietary restrictions at the time of registration. 


Meet Your Speakers


Lynne Wester

Founder & Principal


Matthew Helmer

Consultant & Strategist


Angela Joens

Consultant & Strategist

Colton Withers

Director of Operations


Conference Location & Hotel

Special thanks to our hosts at Emory University!​



Miller-Ward Alumni House

Emory University

815 Houston Mill Rd NE

Atlanta, GA 30329


Emory Conference Center Hotel

1615 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329


Rave Reviews


This is an extremely valuable, fun, interesting and interactive conference experience filled with lots of relatable information, ideas and perspectives, energy and humour. One of my fave conferences ever attended!

Taking Meeting Notes

The DRG conference was an inspiring and super helpful experience. As a result of the sessions, workbook, and expert advice, I have a better framework to give my donor relations shop a tune-up along with tools that will enable me to work smarter.


I left this conference feeling so inspired...I walked out feeling confident in my role, educated on best practices and strategies, and challenged on how to make critical change. Being in a welcoming, safe space with like-minded people reshaped my thinking and reinforced the importance of Donor Relations. I am grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of the DRG conference.


I rarely attend conferences because I'm always thinking of the office time I'm missing, the cost of the conference, etc. Fifteen minutes into the first session, I texted my boss: 'Well, this just paid for itself!' And the rest of the conference was equally excellent. I recommend DRG events without hesitation, and am ever-grateful for your organization.


Conference Schedule

Day 1: Monday, April 22

The 4 Pillars of Donor Communications

9:00 AM | Introduction: Roadmap to the 4 Pillars

9:15 AM | Part 1: Analyzing the Current State of Donor Communications

10:30 AM | Break

10:45 AM | Part 2: Understanding What our Donors Want to Hear from Us

12:00 PM | Lunch Break

1:00 PM | Part 3: Create Once Repurpose Everywhere and Other Strategies for Success

2:15 PM | Break

2:30 PM | Part 4: Building Buy-In and Collaborative Communications Plans

3:45 PM | Wrap-Up & Q&A

4:30 PM | Day 1 Ends

Day 2: Tuesday, April 23

Half-Day Workshops

9:00 AM |  Introduction/Agenda for the Day

9:15 AM | Part 1: Increasing Donor Retention Through Behavior-Based Donor Relations

10:30 AM | Break

10:45 AM | Part 2: Increasing Donor Retention Through Behavior-Based Donor Relations

12:00 PM | Lunch Break 

1:00 PM | Part 1: Strategic Fund Management: Compliance, Utilization and Stewardship

2:15 PM | Break

2:30 PM | Part 2: Strategic Fund Management: Compliance, Utilization and Stewardship

3:45 PM | Wrap-Up & Q&A

4:30 PM | Day 2 Ends

Day 3: Wednesday, April 24

Half-Day Workshop 

9:00 AM | Introduction/Agenda for the Day


9:15 AM | Part 1: Maximizing Impact with Meaningful Purpose Driven Events

10:30 AM | Break

10:45 AM | Part 2: Maximizing Impact with Meaningful Purpose Driven Events

12:00 PM | Conference Ends


Looking for more from Lynne Wester?

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 partner 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!

4 Pillars Book 2023

Ready to take your donor relations to the next level? The 4 Pillars of the Donor Experience—knowledge, strategy, culture, and emotion—builds upon the foundation of the 4 Pillars of Donor Relations, and lets us understand the fundamental truths behind why donors continue to respond to our work, continue to give, and deepen their relationships with our organizations. 


In the The 4 Pillars of The Donor Experience, Lynne breaks down the philosophy of donor engagement while providing concrete strategies, tangible examples, and a whole slew of images and samples from organizations across the nation doing great work. Now available in print or as an audiobook!


Our Sponsors

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. 

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