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The Gala is Over: Now What? A Guide to Post-Campaign Stewardship

Valerie Breitbach and Lindsay Ackley

Wednesday, September 25
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Session Description 

We celebrated the success of our historic campaign on June 4, 2017, with a gala that would rival the Queen’s birthday party. Some guests would tell you it was more fun than their own wedding. And, throughout the night, many told us how good they felt about the impact they made. So, what now? Where do we go from here? On June 5, 2017 we started our stewardship plan for each and every one of our 1,175 donors. We developed a stewardship matrix and spent the next 12 months executing it. This presentation will cover our campaign stewardship plan and creative engagement activities implemented to show our donors the impact they made. From giving framed gala photos to guests to creating impactful mailers and blog posts, offering behind the scenes tours of our patient tower, inviting donors to an exclusive dinner with a doc event, delivering cookies to celebrate milestones and producing an award-winning donor stewardship video e-mailed out to celebrate the one-year birthday of the opening. Activities have resulted in both new major gifts as well as a best in class pledge fulfillment rate. 

About the Presenters

Valerie Breitbach
Donor Relations Specialist
Dayton Children's Hospital

Valerie Breitbach is the Donor Relations Specialist for the Dayton Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is responsible for all major donor events and stewardship. Valerie discovered her passion for providing unique and high-level meaningful experiences for major donors while working as the Donor Relations and Events manager for the Smithsonian-Harvard Center for Astrophysics. Previously, she worked as a Protocol and Special Events Manager for the Defense Logistics Agency. Valerie has worked in VIP donor relations for nearly a decade and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Lindsay Ackley
Director of Major & Planned Gifts
Dayton Children's Hospital

Lindsay Ackley, Director of Major & Planned Gifts, is responsible for strategy, management and oversight of all aspects of foundation’s major and planned giving programs, including large scale campaigns, grants and donor relations. Lindsay managed the hospital’s most recent and largest capital campaign which raised $27.4M (nearly 110% of goal). In this role she secured two, seven-figure gifts; managed feasibility study and campaign operations; built the team and led the public phase. Post campaign, Lindsay has enhanced major donor stewardship, elevated planned giving and began planning for next campaign. Lindsay was recognized as the 2018 AFP Fundraiser of the Year in Dayton region. She and co-presenter Valerie Breitbach were part of the team that developed the award-winning Moments stewardship video as well as a series of individual videos for top campaign donors.

Session Details

Target Audience

Healthcare, Foundation


Mid-career (8 - 12 years)

Shop Size

Medium Shop (6-10 staff), Large Shop (11+ staff)

Session Keywords

Campaigns, Donor Experience, Donor Retention, Events, Major Donors

Learning Objectives

  1. Creating a stewardship matrix that works
  2. Stewardship touchpoints that work for the major donor and the annual donor
  3. Measuring the direct impact of your stewardship