top of page
DRG Pattern_Circle Keys Teal Green-01.jpg

The Keys to Excellence
in Donor Relations

Your all-inclusive and on-demand donor relations training program taught by our team of experts

The Keys to Excellence in Donor Relations is the first-ever all-inclusive and on demand donor relations training program—taught entirely by your trusted industry-leading experts at the DRG Group.

Donor relations is such an all-encompassing profession—we often say it includes “everything but the ask.”


Instead of focusing on the fundamentals of our work and creating a well-honed, donor-centered work plan, we often opt quickly to check off the top item on our seemingly endless list of to-do’s and move on to the next task.


The work is done — but is it excellent?  


For years, all of us at the DRG Group have been teaching donor relations, on-boarding our own team members, and training donor relations departments across the globe. Now, we’ve condensed years of knowledge and experience into a single on-demand course that provides you with the foundational elements you—and your team—need to achieve excellence in donor relations.


We’ve designed the course we wish we had when we started in this industry.


From the fundamentals and purpose behind the work we do to creating plans, budgets, 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. We took decades of knowledge and condensed it into one, 10-hour, easy-to-follow training program that you can use for training new talent, mastering the fundamentals, or refreshing your knowledge and strategy. 

Who It Is For

Are you a newcomer to donor relations?

Welcome! This course will teach you everything you need not only to succeed, but also achieve donor relations excellence!


What about a seasoned pro?

Never stop learning! Refresh your knowledge of the fundamentals and enhance your expertise—you will find this course is filled with tips, tricks, and information that even an experienced professional will appreciate!


Team leader? We can help you train your staff!

Let us onboard your donor relations team members for you—now and in the future. We've been training donor relations teams across the globe for more than a decade. Buy this course once and have an evergreen training program to help your new hires become the best and brightest donor relations professionals.

What You Will Get

We filled this course with all of the knowledge, tips, and tricks we've learned from decades of personal experience and training dozens of donor relations teams at organizations large and small. In addition to over 10 hours of on-demand video content, you'll also receive our exclusive, 50+ page digital handbook with samples, templates, worksheets, and more! 


Here is a complete list of what you'll receive with your purchase:

  • Unlimited access to your complete donor relations training guide (10 pre-recorded modules totaling more than 10 hours of training)

  • Training on your time – your access to our on-demand content never expires

  • Our Keys to Excellence in Donor Relations Resource Guide, with over 50 pages of content including:

    • Fast Fact Worksheet (things you need to know)

    • Personal Why Worksheet

    • Donor Bill of Rights sample

    • Confidentiality Agreement sample

    • Glossary of Terms and Fundraising Jargon

    • Meet Your Team worksheet

    • Help Us Get to Know You Worksheet

    • 5 Questions to Ask Leadership

    • 5 Questions to Ask Development Officers

    • Get to Know Your Donors (Questions to Ask)

    • Survey Sample

    • Survey Report Sample

    • ROI Sample Report

    • SMART Goal Worksheet

    • List of Professional Development Membership Organizations

    • Recommended Reading List

  • Additional Templates and Samples including:

    • Sample Budget

    • Sample Workplan

    • Sample Project Timeline

    • Generational Difference Chart

    • Benchmarking Sample

  • Access to a private group on LinkedIn

  • 10 CFRE Continuing Education Credits 

resource guide (1).png

What You Will Learn

Anything and everything we could possibly think of that would help you and your team rise to the top of the donor relations profession. This includes things we wish we knew when we started, lessons we’ve learned the hard way, training we’ve provided our own team members, and everything in between. Consider this your blueprint to the donor relations profession. Each module included in this course will reflect the 5 Keys to Donor Relations Excellence: Accountability, Problem Solving, Ethics, Inclusivity, and Inspiration.


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.


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.


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.


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—like Development Officers, Budget Offices, Compliance Officers, Event Planners, and many more. You need them and they need you, and in this session, we’ll show you why each of these relationships is necessary.


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.


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 can ask, common statistics, and valuable industry resources that can aid you in your work.


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 and make data-driven decisions about which efforts are worth your time and resources and which are not.


Margaret Thatcher once said, “plan your work for today and every day and then work your plan.” 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 that will help you create a plan that works for you—and your donors.


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.


Our final session will bring this 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.

Your Investment

It would cost over $5,000 to have our team come to your organization and provide 8 hours of training for your current staff. With this course, you get 10 hours of training from two of our experts (Matthew Helmer and Angie Joens) plus 4 additional hours of live sessions, a 50+ page course handbook, private access to a LinkedIn group – and lifetime access to all of it. That makes this course your go-to training tool for new staff now and in the future.



Meet Your Presenters


Angela Joens​

Long ago and far away a wide-eyed Iowa girl accepted a job as the Director of Donor Relations. She was hired after two failed searches and on her first day she asked her new Vice President to provide her clear expectations for this exciting new role. His comment—“build me the best donor relations program in the country.” She asked him what the best program should look like and he said, "No clue, but I want the best.” This was in 1999 when donor relations was the hot new buzz word but no one had yet defined it. So Angie set out on an adventure to learn about donor relations that has lasted 22 years and counting. Today, she is nationally known for her work in donor relations and understands what motivates people to give. She has built numerous successful programs and helped others do the same. She is truly passionate about engaging people and connecting them with organizations and institutions in meaningful ways. Angie is also an executive coach and has honed her ability to identify talent and nurture it. She is most proud of the hundreds of professionals she has launched into successful careers. Angie will draw from her years of experience both as a practitioner, leader, coach, and consultant to help you excel in your donor relations role. 

Click here for Angie's full bio


Matthew Helmer​

Imagine if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew, and then accidentally left the side door open. That’s how Matthew’s career in donor relations began – by walking through that side door. Uninvited. Being the new guy, he asked a lot of questions: “Why?” “What is the purpose?” and perhaps most importantly, “Why not?!” Equipped with years of experience in event production, public relations and team development, Matthew paired an appetite for strategic risk-taking with an aptitude for challenging the status quo in the pursuit of a singular vision: elevating the way donors experience mission-driven organizations.


Along the way, he discovered a passion for the profession, mastering the fundamentals while building – and rebuilding – successful teams, reinventing outcomes, and raising expectations. Through more than 15 years in the fundraising industry, Matthew has hired, trained, and coached hundreds of professionals in roles ranging from organizational leader to consultant and speaker.


Leveraging this background, Matthew infuses joy into the process of learning, while challenging you to think differently and deliver excellence in donor relations.

Click here for Matthew's full bio


Can I pay via invoice?

Of course! We've been working with nonprofits for over a decade and we know the drill. If you would like to pay via invoice or need approval from another person or department to purchase (but still want to take advantage of the time-sensitive savings and bonus content), no worries. Send us an email at and we'll take care of you!

I've purchased the course, but didn't get an email. What happened?

Try as we might, occasionally our emails end up in junk/spam/promotions folders or are blocked by an organization's firewall. If you do not receive an email from us within a few minutes of your purchase, please reach out us right away at

How do I access the course files?

Your confirmation email will include a link to the entire suite of course materials. You can view the files online, or download them directly to your computer. Due to the size of the file, if you choose to download the course you will need a .zip file opener to extract the files. If you use a Mac, you likely already have one. If you don't already have a file opener, we recommend contacting your IT Department to ask if they have a preference for which program to use, but you can also find many free zip file extractors.

Does this course include live sessions/webinars?

No. The course content consists of 10 pre-recorded modules without any live component. 

Can I share this course with others within my team, department, or organization?

Abso-freaking-lutely! In fact, we hope you do. We created this content to help you train new staff, use as a refresher course for experience staff, and yes—share with other teams or departments at your nonprofit that may benefit from learning how to be donor relations rockstars. 

I have another question...who do I reach out to?

Just email us at and let us know how we can help!

bottom of page