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Lynne Wester, Founder of Donor Relations Guru, on the ‘ask/thank ratio’ and how important gratitude is for connecting with your donors.


Lynne Wester is the founder of Donor Relations Guru, with a background in university advancement at NYU. She began her blog to share her experiences as a fundraiser, and this quickly took off; 8 years ago she became a full-time donor guru to help nonprofits all over the world share with their donors what their gratitude has meant to them.

“Analyze your ask to thank ratio.”

From the United States olympic committee to higher education, Lynne has helped a wide range of organisations to connect with their donors on a deeper level. One of the processes she finds the most important is to analyze your interactions with donors or prospects to ensure that you can maintain a balance between asking and giving back, as this will ultimately lead to a stronger, long-term relationship with your organization.

“You made this moment possible.”

Lynne shared a great example from Louisiana State University of using beneficiary stories to engage donors, as they shared videos of students and their families being told live that they would receive a 4 year scholarship. Lynne also expressed that organisations who have embraced digital technology and virtual means of storytelling have thrived during the pandemic.

“Asking isn’t as important as caring for your donor base and sharing gratitude.”
Watch the full episode to find out more about how Lynne has helped organizations to tackle the economic downturn and subsequent drop in giving through sensitive and genuine stewardship, and how fundraisers can always lead with gratitude.

For more expert insight on development & alumni relations,
tune into another Fuelling Fundraising episode


Lynne Wester

Lynne Wester strongly believes that donor relations is the key to unlocking fundraising success and that organizations must be as dedicated to the donor experience, or DX, as they are to the ask itself. Sometimes referred to as the Olivia Pope of fundraising, Lynne helps organizations when they need it the most – when crisis or opportunity arrive.

Lynne and her teammates at the Donor Relations Guru Group partner with nonprofits large and small on a variety of initiatives from developing sound strategy and vision to utilizing technology and creating meaningful donor engagement - all designed to positively affect the fundraising bottom line. Her guidance has led her clients to be recognized on the national stage for fundraising innovation, creative communication, and groundbreaking donor relations work.

The DRG website in a unique industry tool filled with resources, samples and thought leadership on donor relations and fundraising. Lynne is regularly featured in publications such as the Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and CASE Currents and has authored four books of her own on a myriad of industry topics.

Lynne received her B.A. from the University of South Carolina, holds a Masters in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy from BayPath University, and proudly sports a DUCKtorate from the Disney Institute.

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