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Building a Golden Stewardship Team

Tony Stringer, Jordan Dotson, and Melissa Lee

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

Session Description 

Just like Miami’s funniest independent women, The Golden Girls, the University of Georgia’s Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship has learned to maximize the strengths of differing personalities to form a well-rounded stewardship team. Tony Stringer and Jordan Dotson share how they doubled the size of their team by valuing honesty, creative thinking, and a shared mission of gratitude. By embracing each team member’s individual strengths when brainstorming for and reflecting upon stewardship practices, you can build a more cohesive team of passionate and invested donor relations professionals. Learn how to keep your stewardship fresh, develop an accountability matrix, and ultimately earn donor trust and organization buy-in through infectious teamwork and the ability to laugh with your colleagues. As Dorothy would say, “If you don’t take a chance, nothing happens.” Now, will someone get the cheesecake?

About the Presenters

Tony Stringer
Senior Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship
University of Georgia

Tony Stringer has been employed by the University of Georgia for over 24-years and has held the position of Senior Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship for the past twelve. Prior to his move to the university’s Donor Relations & Stewardship office, he served as the donor relations coordinator for the Terry College of Business and as a student services professional with the College of Education. A native of Athens, Tony attended UGA and received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He is an avid volunteer in the non-profit sector and has served as a trustee of the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, board member for the UGA Women’s Gymnastics Ten-O Club, and board member for the Friends Board of the Georgia Museum of Art. Tony enjoys travel and spending time between his home base of Athens and his getaway in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.

Jordan Dotson
Assistant Director of Presidential Stewardship
University of Georgia

Jordan has been employed by the University of Georgia for seven-years and has held the position of Assistant Director of Presidential Stewardship for the past two. She first discovered her passion for stewardship while attending UGA and working at the Terry College of Business as a student worker. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2010 and made her way back home to UGA in 2012 after a brief stint in the hospitality industry. Jordan thrives on spreadsheets and minute details, which aid in her work with Presidential visits and follow-up, event management, and top donor stewardship initiatives. She is an active member of the Junior League of Athens and enjoys traveling with her husband, Denny, and soaking up every minute of free time with her new son, Davis.

Melissa Lee
Assistant Director of Donor Reporting and Communications
University of Georgia

Melissa has been employed by the University of Georgia for seven years and been a part of the Donor Relations and Stewardship team for the past four. Before finding the stewardship profession, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Nonprofit Arts Administration from the University of Georgia and Florida State University respectively. Melissa brings a love of learning, creativity, and story-telling to donor relations by drafting impact reports and coordinating collaborative stewardship efforts. She maintains her passion for arts in the community by serving as a member of the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission.

Session Details

Target Audience

Private College/University, Public College/University, Healthcare, Arts Organization, Foundation, Environmental Organization, Advocacy Organization, Social Services, Other


Suitable for all levels

Shop Size

Suitable for any size shop

Session Keywords

Management, team building, engaging, humor

Learning Objectives

1. Hiring strategies for building a well-rounded donor relations team (conceptual): Current and future leaders will learn key strategies for building a well-rounded, engaged team and placing the right people in the right position to make your stewardship meaningful and accurate.

2. Donor-centric creative thinking (conceptual): New and developing stewardship professionals will learn how to think of their target audiences when creating messaging. Seasoned professionals will learn basic tips for creating a brainstorm-friendly environment that enables ideas to flourish.

3. Annual reflection to avoid stale stewardship (tangible): All professionals will learn the value of meeting annually to reflect on all stewardship that occurs in your organization to keep messaging fresh and on-trend.

4. Developing a stewardship matrix to enable accountability (tangible): All professionals will learn the value of creating an annually updated stewardship matrix to enable intra-office accountability, donor trust, and organization-wide collaboration and buy-in.