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It Takes a Village: Creating a Culture of Collective Responsibility in Gift Management and Donor Relations

Megan McPherson

Wednesday, September 25
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Session Description 

What happens when you launch a Campaign, experience tremendous success, raise the campaign target, and then…(gulp!) realise that donor relationships may be in jeopardy because someone (me? you? who?) has dropped the ball along the way in the implementation and management of a gift. When gift implementation is done poorly, it becomes a BIG donor relations problem.

This session will share the steps taken, over several years, to develop sound processes to improve line of sight to the implementation and management of philanthropic gifts. We will discuss how to recruit and engage members of your implementation “village” across a large and decentralized organization to engender a culture of collective responsibility.
You will take away some practical examples of how to approach a better implementation process, motivate internal stakeholders, develop a risk matrix for the oversight of significant gifts and learn what metrics can be used to measure success in this complex space.

About the Presenter

Megan McPherson
Head of Donor Relations
University of Melbourne

Megan is Head of Donor Relations at the University of Melbourne. She leads the University-wide strategy to comprehensively build strong relationships with donors though donor-centered programs and protocols for acknowledging, recognizing, celebrating and communicating with them about the impact of their gifts, as well as overseeing the governance frameworks for implementing projects made possible by philanthropy. Megan and her team have played a pivotal role in the donor relations and stewardship strategy for the University's $1 billion ‘Believe’ campaign. Megan has 13 years' experience working with the University's Advancement team, with a background in major gifts, alumni relations and international student recruitment.

Session Details

Target Audience

Private College/University, Public College/University, Private Secondary School, Healthcare


Suitable for all levels

Shop Size

Suitable for any size shop

Session Keywords

Gift Documentation, Gift Management Policies and Process, Metrics, Relationship-Building, Working With Frontline Fundraisers

Learning Objectives

  1. Plan for gift implementation and management BEFORE fundraisers ask for the gift
  2. The co-creation of solutions is key to engaging your village of stewards across the organization
  3. Having (or establishing) robust policies and governance frameworks around gift acceptance and gift oversight is essential The audience will be able to apply the session content to their roles through the application of these concepts to their organisation, existing processes, relationships with colleagues and governance. Metrics for success and templates shared will also provide an opportunity for attendees to identify how they could establish ways to do a health check on their own organisation's gifts and gift management structures; how to approach a process improvement project as it relates to gift implementation; and what steps they could take to enhance relationships with fund administrators and other colleagues whom we rely upon to manage gifts effectively in line with donor expectations.