by Lindsay Tuck Morris

We work with absolutely incredible people—and we all have varied interests and experiences, which adds to the unique makeup of the University of Georgia. We’ll be regularly spotlighting a few rock stars from around the division so that even if you don’t cross paths with them in the break room or Zoom with them on a weekly basis, you can get to know colleagues who can enhance your work life and productivity.

Without further ado, please enjoy our Q&A with Leandra Nessel …

Name: Leandra Nessel

Title: Associate Director of Development and Annual Giving

  • My job is to help people understand how the Library supports every unit and college on campus and how we contribute to student success. I also educate people about how a 21st century library functions and why we need philanthropic support

What might people not know about your job? People might not know how much fun we have, how many cool things we have in the special collections libraries and how the library is the perfect collaboration partner for overall student support.

Where can we find you?

  • Online: ude.agu@lessenl
  • On Campus: Main Library
  • At Home: Athens, Georgia

Time in DAR: 16.5 years

Where did you grow up: Elberton, Georgia

What is your favorite reason for working for UGA/DAR? I love meeting people who are as passionate about the university as I am.

Work project you’ve been most proud participating in: Through the magic of alumni connections and our wonderful library staff, I was able to find some footage in our archives that allowed a man to hear his mother’s voice for the first time. As you can imagine, it was very emotional for everyone involved.

What is your favorite spot in Athens to grab lunch? Can I say downtown Taco Stand even though it’s gone? I miss it so much!

Tell us about your family I’ve been married for 26 years to Kent. We have two sons ages 20 and 17, a senior rescue dog named Bella, and a cat named Vinny.

On a typical Saturday evening, you can find me … On the sofa watching one of the many many British/Icelandic murder mysteries we are obsessed with, or watching the Braves.

No. 1 tip for someone just joining DAR: Get to know your colleagues outside of your unit. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to them at one of the big meetings, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Outside of work, I’m passionate about … Reading and writing

Favorite book or podcast: Asking me my favorite book is liking asking which is my favorite child! If pressed, I would say “Code Name Verity” is my favorite book. It’s the only book I’ve ever immediately started re-reading when I was done.

Lately, I’ve been watching … Endeavor on PBS.

A song that really pumps me up is … “Close to Me” by The Cure.

Something you might not know about me is … I have two tattoos.

My dream vacation (cost and time aside) is to visit … England, Scotland and Ireland.

We hope you learned something new about Leandra. We are lucky to have her on our DAR team! Feel free to reach out to her if you have questions about development, or if you’d like to talk about libraries and archives.

by Jason Burdette

Gift Accounting is pleased to offer an enhanced service for routing and obtaining signatures for new commitments. Previously, completing an electronic pledge form meant printing, signing, and scanning. Now, we can route pledge forms through DocuSign to securely obtain signatures and save our donors the hassle of scanning and emailing completed forms. We understand that timing is everything. We have structured document routing to give development officers control over when a donor receives the electronic form. Please see the steps below to request the routing of an electronic pledge form.

Instructions for initiating DocuSign pledge forms

  1. Add pledge details and donor information to UGA Foundation’s PDF pledge form, including donor’s preferred email address. Pledge forms customized for a specific school or college are also acceptable.
  2. Email completed form to Gift Accounting at ude.agu@stfig and indicate whether you or someone else would like to serve as the Development Contact for the pledge.
  3. Gift Accounting will upload the document into DocuSign, arrange the workflow, and prepare the form for the donor’s signature and the collection of any missing information.
  4. The first DocuSign recipient is the Development Contact, who will receive via email for review and to control when the donor receives. When they open the form and click the “Approve” button, it will be immediately routed to the donor.
  5. The next DocuSign recipient is the donor, who will receive via email for review and signature.
  6. The final DocuSign recipients are the Development Contact and Gift Accounting, who will receive the completed form via email for their records. Gift Accounting will record the pledge in GAIL as soon as possible. Unless there are any follow-up questions, there is no need to do anything else.

While forms will be uploaded and routed as quickly as possible, we ask that you give Gift Accounting a two-business-day turnaround after sending a request to ensure your form is available when you need to route to your donor.

Remember, Gift Accounting will continue to collect hard copy pledges. If you have a donor who would prefer to sign a paper form, please mail to The UGA Foundation, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, or deliver to One Press Place as you traditionally have.

by Jason Burdette

While our unique working environment is beginning to feel more normal than novel, there are business practices we need to rethink. At the top of Gift Accounting’s list is how to handle credit card information while working remotely. The DAR taskforce responsible for our credit card compliance met recently with our PCI (Payment Card Industry) consultant to approve a one-pager for our division. This document provides the basics for safely accepting credit card information from donors and communicating that to Gift Accounting for processing. 

Please review the Remote credit card policy message in Microsoft Teams under the DAR General channel. You’ll also find it on the Resources page on the DAR website under One Pagers.

Remember: Online donation pages are built specifically to accept payment information only from donors—not UGA employees. As a credit card merchant, we are required to have different safety precautions in place when we charge a credit card on behalf of a donor. If you receive credit card information from a donor, the approved method for processing that charge is to send the handwritten information to Gift Accounting. 

 We are always willing to answer any questions or help walk you through unusual situations. Please call us at (706) 542-4438 or email ude.agu@stfig. 

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by Melissa Lee

The field of donor relations and stewardship is relatively new. The practice has been occurring alongside fundraising in its entirety, but organizations didn’t see its success until they entered their secondor even third—round of campaignsOften, new campaigns brought new leadership. New leadership brought new fundraising philosophies, and it was difficult to link new gifts to past moments of cultivationHowever, if fundraisers did not set appropriate plans to continue relationships with annual and major donors from previous campaignsthey found themselves playing catch up when preparing to ask those same donors for increased giving the next time around. Historically, the stewardship work of note writing, one-off recognition, and event preparation was placed in the hands of assistants. These professionals were in reactive positions that responded to the immediate needs of fundraisers and administrationPublic-facing positions collected gifts, and stewardship was considered a final step. Signed by administration but accomplished by assistants, this work closed gifts while quietly setting up donors for the future.  

As we close Commit to Georgia and look to our future, reflecting on reactive decisions made in the past can give us great insight. By preparing for a growth of donors and inflation, acting on evolving trends in society and communication, and thinking about the long-term goal for our donors rather than the immediate gift athand, things can look very different when our next goal is set. Thankfully, as we begin to develop our Team Stewardship culture and consider donor relations professional path with its own expertsthat future seems much clearer.  

To continue stewarding our donors in thoughtful, sustainable ways, Donor Relations and Stewardship sees our annual matrix as a cultivation strategyOur work is more than reactive responses to gifts, fun events, and warm letters. With transparent plans for cultivation, we become accountable to ourselves, our colleagues, and our donors. By putting that plan on paper annually and following through (to the best of our ability), it becomes easier for our schools, colleges, and units to work together toward our greater goal of advancing UGA’s mission. The ability to say, with confidence, what donors can count on annually—no matter what units their gifts benefit—allows your colleagues to trust you and allows donors to trust UGA. 

Team Stewardship has been instrumental in moving the needle for stewardship at UGA, but we can do better. To make sure that our units are not under supported and that our donors can give with confidence, we encourage all units to be a part of our university-wide stewardship matrix project. By annually planning and sharing your plan with others, we can move closer to the collaborative, innovative culture that we hope for.  

If you are able, submit your annual stewardship matrix to Donor Relations and Stewardship before August 15th each year! 

Donor Relations and Stewardship Matrix 2020 

Stewardship Matrix Template 

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