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For over a decade, our team of experts at the Donor Relations Group have been teaching donor relations, onboarding new team members, and training donor relations departments across the globe.


Now, we've distilled this wealth of knowledge and experience into an interactive, energetic program designed to provide you with the foundational elements needed to achieve excellence in donor relations.


Our comprehensive, 10-month cohort program includes expert-led training and small group coaching to ensure you're able to put our concepts into practice. We'll cover everything from the fundamentals and purpose behind the work we do to creating plans, budgets, and project timelines, collaborating across teams, managing up and working with leadership, really getting to know your donors, measuring your success, and more. This course has it all!

Donor Relations
Accelerator Program

Jump start your journey to excellence in donor relations.

Is this program right for me?

This live, facilitated course is designed for those who are new to the field—with less than 2 years of experience—OR are changing career paths into donor relations and want to learn the fundamentals and best practices as outlined in The Four Pillars of Donor Relations


Throughout our 10-month program, we'll dive deep into the proven strategies for success in our profession, all grounded in our core belief that donor relations is the key to fundraising success.  

How does it work?

The program runs from August 2024 - May 2025, and you'll attend two, 60- minute meetings each month—that's one full academic year of support! 

The first meeting of each month will be a dynamic presentation, delivered by DRG’s expert facilitators. The second meeting will be a breakout, small group conversation, designed to create a cohort learning environment where personal questions are answered and a tight-knit community of learners is built. These second monthly meetings are perfect for asking all those timely questions we face throughout the course of a year such as, “How do I get through all of these year-end acknowledgments?” or “Help me figure out how to improve my spring scholarship banquet!”

Meetings will be held via Zoom. Participants should plan to attend all meetings with cameras on, ready to learn and engage. 

How do I join? 

To ensure that the course is as interactive and personal as possible, space will be limited to 35 individual participants. Registration is per person and cannot be shared with others in the organization. 

Registration is open through July 22, or until all 35 spots are filled. The first session will start in August of 2024.


What You Will Get

  • 10 hours of live training delivered by DRG’s expert speakers in thoughtful and engaging webinar presentations

  • 10 hours of small group strategic ideation and problem-solving held over Zoom in a conversational, ask-and-answer format

  • A digital course workbook with more than 50 pages of content to enhance learning and reinforce key concepts

  • A virtual learning community of peers and mentors where ideas, examples, and best practices can be shared

  • Access to exclusive DRG downloads and templates

  • A digital badge to share on LinkedIn or other professional profiles

  • 10 CFRE Points in Category 1.B - Education  

Please note: All meetings will be held at 12 pm ET. 


What You Will Learn

Month 1: Your Role As A Donor Relations Professional 
​In this session, we’ll provide a brief overview of the history and current state of our profession. You’ll learn the goal of donor relations and what will be expected of you in this field—including an important discussion about ethics in donor relations.

Month 2: Welcome To The Show

File this session under, “must-have donor relations knowledge.” We’ll discuss the cycle of giving, break down commonly used terms and jargon (LYBUNTS, and SYBUNTS, and endowments, oh my!), and show you how donor relations plays an integral role in successful fundraising.

Month 3: An Introduction To The 4 Pillars

​This session is your donor relations game plan—the X’s and O’s of your work. We’ll provide you with the framework for how a donor relations program should be structured—the 4 Pillars of Donor Relations. We’ll break down the highlights of each pillar and explain how each element is crucial for creating a strong foundation. This session will help you organize your work and create a plan.

Month 4: Meet The Players

​Donor relations is a team sport and excellence cannot be achieved alone. During this session, you’ll meet the starting lineup of players you’ll need to work with to complete your job—Development Officers, Budget Offices, Compliance Officers, Event Planners, and many more. You need them and they need you, and in this session, we’ll cover why each relationship is necessary.

Month 5: Working With Leadership

Each leader has a unique style of managing and communicating. During this session, we’ll help you identify their needs and preferences, and then coach you on how to manage those expectations. We’ll also provide tips on communicating with leadership and the best ways to keep them updated on your progress.

Month 6: Know Your Donors

This is the most critical component of our work. All donors are unique, and the more you know about them, the stronger your donor relations program will be. During this session, we’ll share our best tools for understanding your donors—including questions you should ask, common statistics, and valuable industry resources that can aid you in your work.

Month 7: Measure Your Results

What is the ROI of donor relations? In this session, we’ll teach you what you need to know to answer this question. We’ll share tools to help you measure the ROI of your programs, projects, and events. You can use this data to report back to leadership, make data-driven decisions about which efforts are worth your organization's time and resources, and which are not.

Month 8: Make A Plan

Margaret Thatcher once said, “plan your work for today and every day and then work your plan.” This month, you'll learn how to build a work plan, create and manage a budget, and ask questions to get clear expectations and purpose for each project you take on. We’ll provide samples and inspiration to help you create a plan that works for you—and your donors.

Month 9: Peer Comparisons

Our leaders often ask us to benchmark a program, project, or service against other organizations. This is an effective tool if you know how to do it properly. In this session, we’ll provide you with the tools to set up your own study, identify who to include, and teach you how to analyze the results and present them to leadership.

Month 10: Bringing It All Together

Our final session will bring the training full circle. We’ll go over our resource guide of everything you need to achieve excellence in your donor relations career—including which professional organizations to join and why, and an ongoing learning plan that will provide you with tools and resources to help you continue to grow and flourish in donor relations.

All meetings will be held on Fridays from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET. 

Don't forget! We'll host 10 additional monthly meetings, with small group break out conversations, tailored to your unique challenges and projects. Click here to see the full list of meeting dates and times. 

Your Investment

A 10-month membership in the Accelerator Program is $2,500. This comprehensive training program will provide you with a wealth of in-depth knowledge and unparalleled professional support. Plus, you’ll build a strong network of peers across the sector! Spots are limited to 35 participants and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. 

Some limited scholarships are available. Applicants who are interested in scholarship support should complete this form by July 8. Please understand we cannot award scholarships to all applicants who express need. We will notify all scholarship recipients by July 22. 

Meet Your Facilitators

Headshot of Lynne Wester, DRG Founder and Principal

Lynne Wester

Founder & Principal

Madelyn Jones

DRG Associate

Holly Kizer

DRG Associate

Liz Menne

DRG Associate


Avery G. Howard

DRG Associate

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, we are able to offer limited scholarships for this program. 

One of our favorite technology tools, Awarded has revolutionized the industry's approach to stewardship and fund management. Awarded stands out as not just a tool, but a partner in our mission to make a difference. Learn more at

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