[NPFX Ep. 54] Measuring More than Money: Why Donor Relationships Matter (with Michele Rebeor and Elizabeth Silverstein)

donor retention financial stability nonprofit fundraising nonprofit strategy podcast tips and resources

Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to empower nonprofits to succeed so they can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Measuring More than Money — Why Donor Relationships Matter (with Michele Rebeor and Elizabeth Silverstein)

The percentage of individuals giving to nonprofits has reached its lowest point in 40 years. This "giving crisis" has led to an overreliance on major gifts that isn't sustainable for most nonprofits. In today's episode, we discuss why measuring donor relationships (not just revenue) must be a part of your fundraising plan, how to enroll your leadership and board, and strategies to track and improve donor relationships at every level of giving.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts

  • Topic and guest introductions [0:50]
  • The rise of major gifts and why that's a problem [4:36]
  • Emphasizing donor relationships over revenue has to start from the top [6:31]
  • Engage grassroots donors by demonstrating their impact and making interactions more personal [14:51]
  • The challenge of building relationships across different demographics [20:09]
  • Rethinking portfolio management for better donor relationships [25:56]
  • Using moves management and CRM systems effectively [30:31]
  • How to enroll your board in a relationship-focused fundraising strategy [33:52] 

Special Offer: Free 30-minute consultation for NPFX listeners

Additional Resources

Subscribe to NPFX


Michele Rebeor is a founder of Synergy Philanthropy and an IPM Advancement consultant. Her work supporting nonprofit organizations focuses on building and maximizing donor relationships that result in greater levels of giving. Michele also has a rare expertise in effecting strategies that acknowledge the role and importance of women donors and their impact on the future of philanthropy.

Elizabeth Silverstein has served the not-for-profit sector for more than 40 years, specializing in transformational giving, vision casting, inspiring boards, and building passionate, effective teams. Beth has been instrumental in cultivating major gifts for capital campaigns in healthcare, two presidential libraries, higher education, K-12 independent schools, and social service organizations.


Russ Phaneuf, a co-founder of IPM Advancement, has a background in higher education development, with positions at the University of Hartford, Northern Arizona University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. As IPM's managing director & chief strategist, Russ serves as lead fundraising strategist, award-winning content creator, and program analyst specializing in applied system dynamics.

Rich Frazier has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. In his role as senior consultant with IPM Advancement, Rich offers extensive understanding and knowledge in major gifts program management, fund development, strategic planning, and board of directors development.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

Contact IPM