At this year’s Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s (DMAW) Bridge Conference, Schultz & Williams Vice President Cathy Card Sterling co-presented—with Jeff Mueller, director of donor communications and stewardship at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Adva Priso, associate vice president at Anne Lewis Strategies—a session called Fast Forward: At the Intersection of Major Gifts and Digital.

Their presentation focused on: the use of digital strategies to turbocharge conversations and relationships with donors, the need to reinvent major donor strategies in the digital age and methods to create a framework for a new digital/major gifts program.

The goal for the session was to expand participants’ awareness and knowledge of the techniques for using the digital platform to create community within an organization, deepen donor relationships with staff at all levels, uncover shared values and ultimately create a more successful major gifts program.

The session began with a primer on major gifts best practices. Today, these practices include:  relationship-building with donors, helping them connect to what is meaningful within their organizations, assuming the donor perspective, creating a social media presence, telegraphing transparency, appealing to the donor-investor and communicating the big ideas.

From there, the group explored how digital tactics can assist major gifts officers in multiple ways:  They are especially helpful when introducing prospects to an organization’s mission and goals well before a phone call, for staying top of mind between fundraising asks and for providing a 360 digital program.

Given the opportunity to examine striking pictorial case studies from WWF, participants viewed websites that draw on specific projects and programs—Tiger Guardians, Bhutan for Life—within that organization. They also examined WWF’s interactive infographics and offline engagement opportunities, such as travel—all of which create superb online experiences.

Our presentation also highlighted the deployment of customized emails to detail institutional messages, create community, and provide access to leadership and experts. Finally, the use of video in personal thank-you notes from leadership and from those who have benefited from major gifts underscored the profound impact that digital strategies have on today’s major gifts donors.

For more about Fast Forward: At the Intersection of Major Gifts and Digital, please contact Vice President Cathy Card Sterling at

Founded in 1987, Schultz & Williams is a national consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits of every size and sector achieve financial stability, meet organizational goals and support greater mission impact. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Schultz & Williams also has operations in Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco CA, and Washington, D.C.