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OCTOBER 28-30, 2024

It's not a conference — it's an experience!

At DRG, we're known for being the best in the business when it comes to engaging and energizing professional development. Join us for a different kind of conference at our 4 Pillars Conference Experience in Boston this fall! No vendor booths to dodge, no hit-and-miss sessions or tracks, just in-depth presentations designed to teach you the best and next practices in fundraising and donor relations—directly from our team of industry-leading experts—including the woman who literally wrote the book on donor relations, Lynne Wester!


During this two and a half day event, you'll take a deep dive into Lynne Wester's 4 Pillars of Donor Relations and have the opportunity to workshop your own acknowledgments and reports with expert guidance.


You'll also learn proven techniques and strategies to create Individual Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors with an immersive half-day workshop. We'll teach you how to implement effective bespoke stewardship strategies that deepen engagement with top donors, drive sustained support and transform donor relationships into meaningful partnerships.

On the final day, we'll step into the world of campaigns with another half-day workshop focused on Effective Donor Relations Strategies for Campaign Success. In this workshop we'll teach you how to seamlessly integrate a robust donor relations approach into your campaign plans and communication strategies. 

DRG conferences are unrivaled professional development experiences for anyone in fundraising and donor relations. You'll leave this conference equipped with new knowledge and a clear path forward to elevate donor experiences, improve donor retention, and amplify your fundraising success!

Register today to join us for an unforgettable professional development experience! 

Conference Overview

You can purchase the 4 Pillars of Donor Relations or either of the half-day workshops. 


Day 1: The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations

Pillars 1 and 2: Acknowledgment and Stewardship

The first day of the conference is based on the first half of Lynne Wester's book, The Four Pillars of Donor Relations. This interactive learning experience is perfect for anyone new to donor relations or even the experienced professional. Filled with fresh content and real-life examples, day one of this conference will teach you the basics of donor relations as well as next practices and new industry trends.

We'll dive into the first two, must-have pillars of The Four Pillars of Donor Relationsacknowledgment and stewardship—to help you assess your current program and identify where and how you can advance your efforts. We'll also provide you with time to workshop your own acknowledgments and impact reports.


Lynne and her team of experts will bring each topic to life as they share personal stories of tragedy, 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.

Day 2: The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations + Individual Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors

Morning Session | The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations - Pillars 3 and 4: Recognition & Engagement

We'll kick off the second day with the final two pillars of the Four Pillars of Donor Relationsrecognition and engagement. You'll learn why and how nonprofits are moving from dollar-based to behavior-based recognition programs, the importance of crucial conversations around gift agreement policies and procedures, and see examples of ways donors really want to be recognized and engage with your organization. (Hint: It's not a giant check or a rubber chicken dinner in a ballroom.) You'll return to your organization ready to create amazing experiences that will surprise and delight your donors. All participants who complete the comprehensive training on the 4 Pillars of Donor Relations will be awarded a digital certificate and badge.

Afternoon Session | Individual Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors

They're the top donors to your organization, they consistently give large, transformational gifts. Your program covers the 98% of the donor base, but here we're talking the 1-2% that need custom treatment. Which donors should receive bespoke plans? What resources and staffing are needed for this programmatic effort? How are we building custom plans shaped around our very best donors that are meaningful and manageable? A bespoke plan can evolve seamlessly into other concerted programmatic efforts. Considering these ideas, we will examine the ways individualized plans can be structured, who should have one, what should be contained in an individual plan, and how activities can be integrated into a plan. Join us to get a collection of creative ideas for your top donor stewardship plans – ranging from campus visits to speaking opportunities to meetings with gift beneficiaries. Since not every idea is appropriate for every donor, we’ll help you map the ideas to important donor preferences so that your plans have maximum impact. In addition, we will build engagement inventories and opportunities to ideate on your transformational donors.


Day 3: Effective Donor Relations Strategies for Campaign Success

Embarking on a fundraising campaign is a pivotal moment for any nonprofit organization, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Most organizations are either in campaign-mode or they're prepping for the next one. What does this mean for your donor relations program? This half-day workshop is designed for nonprofit professionals who are either in the midst of a campaign or laying the groundwork for the next—or maybe you're in the silent phase—we won't tell anyone! We'll teach you how to design and implement a strategic, organization-wide stewardship and donor relations program that recognizes donors and delivers high-quality practices and deliverables for acknowledgement, recognition, reporting, and engagement—ultimately strengthening the fundraising goals of donor retention and meaningful communication/connection between your organization and your donors. Knowing which activities, events, and outreach are most appropriate and effective are critical in retaining your donors, especially during a sustained campaign period. Learn how to make donor relations a collaborative, institution-wide effort to provide appropriate donor recognition and to encourage others to invest generously.

CFRE Eligibility: This conference has been approved for 14.75 CFRE points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.



Full 3-Day Conference Experience

October 28-30, 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. Lunch is only included on Day 2 for those who are registered for the full 3-day conference or purchase Day 1 and the Top Donor Engagement Workshop on 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


Liz Menne


Avery G. Howard


Rave Reviews


The best donor relations conference I've been to. Each session packed a punch with great info, super tactical tips and lots of laughs!

Taking Meeting Notes

The Four Pillars Conference was a phenomenal experience. It was one of the most rewarding investments in my career...this is a must for all Donor Relations professionals.


 If you're looking for a stuffy presentation, this is not for you. If you're looking to escape survival-mode and jump start revival-mode with your teams, DRG are your people.


This conference didn't feel like a conference—it was an experience! The DRG Group clearly applied what they know about donor relations to every piece of the conference. It was personal, memorable and valuable. Thank you to the entire team for a great three days.


Conference Schedule

Day 1: Monday, October 28

The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations

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

9:15 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.

10:30 AM | Break

10:45 AM | Pillar One: Acknowledgments (cont'd)

12:00 PM | Lunch Break

1:00 PM | 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.

2:15 PM | Break

2:30 PM | Pillar Two: Stewardship and Reporting (cont'd)

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

4:30 PM | Day 1 Ends

Day 2: Tuesday, October 29

4 Pillars of Donor Relations (Part 2) and Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors

9:00 AM |  Pillar Three: Recognition

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

10:15 AM | Break

10:30 AM | 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.

11:45 AM | 4 Pillars of Donor Relations Wrap Up/Q&A

12:00 PM | Lunch Break (For full 3-day conference attendees only)

1:00 PM | Introduction to Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors

1:15 PM | Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors (Part 1)

2:30 PM | Break

2:45 | Bespoke Stewardship and Engagement Plans for Top Donors (Part 2)

4:00 PM | Wrap-Up & Q&A

4:30 PM | Day 2 Ends

Day 3: Wednesday, October 30

Effective Donor Relations Strategies for Campaign Success

9:00 AM | Effective Donor Relations Strategies for Campaign Success (Part 1)

10:15 AM | Break

10:30 AM | Effective Donor Relations Strategies for Campaign Success (Part 2)

11:45 AM | Wrap Up & Q&A

12:00 PM | Conference Ends



Special thanks to our hosts at Simmons University!



Simmons University

Linda K. Paresky Conference Center
300 Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
United States


Hyatt Regency Boston / Cambridge

575 Memorial Dr.

Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Book with DRG Rate


Can't wait to dive into the content?

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 logo to learn more about the incredible work they're doing. 

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