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With Great Donors Comes Great Responsibility: How a Campaign Amplifies Your Stewardship

Rebekah Nowak and Kristen Oliszewicz

Wednesday, September 25
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Session Description 

Campaigns change everything. Learn how Northwestern University thrived throughout the many highs (and weathered the occasional lows) of a multi-billion-dollar campaign over the past 5 years. We will discuss how the emphasis on fundraising resulted in expansions to our team's structure and responsibilities, including increased reporting on, celebrating, and stewarding of our donors. You'll leave with a fuller picture of how donor relations can both support and accelerate the achievement of fundraising goals. Other topics we will touch on include donor recognition signage, organizing campaign events, dynamics of working with senior staff, and rolling with change.

About the Presenters

Rebekah Nowak
Senior Associate Director, Donor Relations
Northwestern University

Rebekah Nowak is a senior associate director of Donor Relations at Northwestern University. She works with principal gift-level donors, creating custom stewardship that will strengthen and engage their relationship with the University. She has been in this role for six years and has previously worked on the Reunions team as well as for the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern. Previous development experience comes from her time at the Newberry Library and Chicago Botanic Garden. Rebekah received her undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College and a master's degree in public service management and fundraising from DePaul University.

Kristen Oliszewicz
Senior Associate Director, Donor Relations
Northwestern University

Kristen Oliszewicz is a senior associate director of Donor Relations at Northwestern University, where she manages people and projects focused on expressing gratitude to the University's top supporters. She believes philanthropy is key to helping people learn and grow in a higher education setting. During her seven years on the Donor Relations team, Kristen created a centralized expendable gift reporting program and collaborated on the first guidelines for donor recognition signage. She holds a BS in recreation, sport, and tourism from the University of Illinois.

Session Details

Target Audience

Private College/University, Public College/University, Private Secondary School, Healthcare, Religious Organization, Arts Organization, Foundation, Environmental Organization, Advocacy Organization, Social Services


Suitable for all levels

Shop Size

Suitable for any size shop

Session Keywords

Acknowledgments, Campaigns, Donor Experience, Events, Major Donors

Learning Objectives

  1. Adjusting your program to balance the increase in top donor stewardship during a campaign
  2. How to grow stewardship reporting during a campaign to keep up with an increased amount of gifts
  3. How to tailor stewardship to event attendees