6B | Innovative Twists on Traditional Recognitions

Thursday, Sept 22
1:15 - 2:15 PM

Suitable across all audiences

Experience Level
Suitable for all levels

Shop Size
Suitable for any size shop

Donor walls. Honor rolls. Recognition societies. And more. Each of us has these at our organizations or has encountered them in our professional careers. Standard fare, correct? There's a formula for who is etched in stone, or who is invited to join, or who appears in print, and it rarely varies. Ever ask yourself why? What is stopping us from injecting new life into those practices and breaking the traditional molds that have been used by our institutions for years, sometimes (gulp) decades? The answer is that with the technology we have at our fingertips today and the creativity we all possess as donor relations professionals, nothing should be a barricade to innovation and reinvention. Don't limit yourself or your organization.

Think creatively about those tried and true recognitions. In this session you'll see fresh approaches to recognizing your loyal donors that will hopefully inspire you to refresh your own standard recognitions


Roberta O'Hara

Roberta O'Hara joined the development staff at Princeton University in 1986, and over the years, rose in ranks, eventually holding the senior leadership position of Senior Associate Director of Stewardship at Princeton University. In 2014, Roberta returned to her alma mater, Rutgers University, as Senior Director of Donor Relations, overseeing a staff of 15 stewardship, events, and acknowledgement professionals.

Roberta was a founding member of the New England Stewardship Conference, which ultimately became ADRP. She served as the inaugural treasurer for the group, content chair for the 2014 International Conference, and conference chair for the 12th Annual ADRP International Conference. A nationally recognized expert in the field of donor relations, she is a frequent presenter at conferences and is the principal of Gramercy, LLC. She also served as the Best Practices Chair of the Donor Relations for the Association of Advancement Services Professionals and Relationship Manager for ADRP and AASP, and is a member of the Mercer County Women in Advancement, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and CASE. She has also served as a board member for the Burlington County Lyceum and Library of History, with special consideration for fundraising concerns. Her Princeton team has won several awards, including most recently the 2014 CASE Circle of Excellence Bronze Award and the 2015 Gold and Silver Awards for donor recognition pieces, and Roberta recently received the 2015 CASE Quarter Century Service Award. 

Roberta holds a BA in psychology and English from Rutgers University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and rowed on women's crew, and an MA in English literature from Northeastern University. 


Lynne Wester

Lynne Wester is a frequent conference speaker and well known resource for donor relations and fundraising expertise. She has been featured in The Washington Post, CURRENTS magazineThe Chronicle of Philanthropy, and other industry publications.

It is her personal philosophy that the goal of any great fundraising operation is to use strategic communications and interactions to foster the relationship between the organization and its constituents and friends. If we are effective with that strategy, those friends and constituents will be engaged in a way that drives them ever closer to embracing the organization's mission and values. As a result, they will give their money, time, and talents, volunteering to spread that same message to others, encouraging their peers to invest, enabling the organization to further light the world. 

Using her expertise and hands-on approach, Lynne works with organizations to help them keep their focus donor driven, technology savvy, strategic, and always with a splash of good humor. She received her undergraduate degrees from the University of South Carolina and is a loyal gamecock alumna, donor and fan, and holds a master's in strategic fundraising and philanthropy.