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Fund Stewardship for Effective Donor Relations

Sarah Sims, CFRE, and Patrick Sell

Friday, September 25
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Session Description 

Fund stewardship is the building blocks on which all donor relations is built. We know it, and we say it every day, you can't ask a donor for more money if you don't steward the funds you already have. This key topic must be addressed before future asks, compelling reporting, and targeted engagement can take place. This session will focus on the basic, but often overlooked, tenants of stewardship, crafting solid gift agreements, ensuring donor intent is honored, and maximizing fund utilization. Join us as we explore how to steward our donor directed funds in a careful, thoughtful, and donor-centric manner. (And how fix those problem funds!)

About the Presenter

Sarah Sims, CFRE
Executive Director of Donor Relations
University of Florida

Sarah has been responsible for building new and innovative donor relations programs from the ground up at three different higher education institutions and now heads the donor relations team at the University of Florida as they embark on the University's first $3B capital campaign.With more than fifteen years of experience in donor relations and frontline fundraising in a variety of higher education and non-profit settings, Sarah focuses on building strategic donor relationships while forwarding the mission of the organization. Her specialty areas include top donor strategy, program development, fund stewardship and major gift development.Sarah is a non-profit consultant and active industry volunteer with positions held on the CASE IV Board of Directors and with the Association of Donor Relations Professionals. Sarah earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2013 and is a frequent presenter for CASE, ADRP, DRG, and Academic Impressions.

Patrick Sell
Director of Stewardship
University of Florida

Patrick serves on the Donor Relations team at the University of Florida as the Director of Stewardship. In this role, Patrick manages a variety of fund stewardship and reporting initiatives across the UF campus. Patrick enjoys working with a wide range of university stakeholders to ensure that donor funds are being fully utilized and in adherence to donor intent. Patrick also oversees annual endowment reporting at UF and has spearheaded the organization’s efforts to revamp and rebuild the reporting process while implementing a leading edge donor reporting portal.

Prior to UF, Patrick worked at the U.S. Department of State managing public diplomacy programs and conducting impact reporting on several foreign policy initiatives. He also worked at the Georgetown University Business School where he was a project manager for customized business training programs for Fortune 500 companies.

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, Other non-profit


Suitable for all levels

Shop Size

Leadership, Metrics, Reporting, Strategy

Session Keywords

Endowment, Foundational Elements of Donor Relations, Gift Management Policies and Process, Metrics, Strategy

Learning Objectives

  1.  Better understand the role Donor Relations professionals need to play in this space
  2. Get ideas on how they can scale and tackle basic fund stewardship initiatives based on their shop size and resources
  3.  See several visual tools and examples of how they also track and quantify this information