Navigate Challenging Conversations with Donors



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Gain confidence in your ability to engage with donors around polarizing topics.

Your donors’ views of current events may not always align with your personal or institutional values and mission, which can create tension when cultivating the relationship. How do you navigate through those conversations in a way that sustains or even builds the connection?

Join us online to hear from our expert facilitator on how the University of Utah is approaching challenging conversations with prospects and donors. You will hear stories and examples of how the university has responded to some of the most challenging situations on their campus and walk away with guidance for how to facilitate dialogue that aligns your internal stakeholders, prospects, and donors around these often difficult-to-talk-about topics:

  • Racial Justice and Student Activism
  • Politics
  • Leadership Transitions
  • The Value of Higher Education

Who Should Attend

Frontline fundraisers that work in leadership annual, major, principal, or planned giving, along with folks in donor relations and alumni relations, who need practice in navigating challenging conversations with alumni and donors, will benefit most from this training. Those who want to train others on becoming more comfortable with challenging donor conversations will also find this training valuable.


Section 1: Internal Alignment: Identifying Your Institutional Values

We will start with sharing how to initiate important conversations with your internal stakeholders so that you can ask the right questions and identify what’s most important to your campus. Understanding your institutional values, norms, and standards will only help you stay grounded and provide you with a compass during challenging donor conversations.


Section 2: External Alignment: Communicating Your Values to Donors

Here we will talk about how to position and align your institutional values with prospective and current donors. You will walk away with talking points to help inform how you navigate these challenging conversations, learning how to handle these donor conversations in a way that is true to yourself and your institution.


Section 3: Tips for How to Implement in Your Shop/With Your Team

In this last section, you will walk away with tips and suggestions for how to share this approach with others in your shop, so that you can practice together.


Portrait of Dhiraj Chand

Dhiraj Chand

Sr. Director, Leadership and Principal Gifts, University of Utah

Specializing in higher education and non-profit fundraising/development, Dhiraj lives in Salt Lake City where he is the Sr. Director, Leadership and Principal Gifts at the University of Utah. In this role, he works to generate philanthropic support for academic initiatives, donor relations, student programs, research activities, and institutional goals. With over 12 years of experience in higher education leadership, major gift fundraising, campaign planning and strategy, corporate and foundation relations, board development, and communications, Dhiraj has helped donors be a force for good in the community. He is passionate about social justice equity and actively contributes to solutions-based collaborations that ensure all students have access to and through higher education.

Prior to his current role, Dhiraj worked with a range of diverse student programs within the offices of Student Affairs and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion. He is currently the Rape Recovery Center’s board chair, a non-profit dedicated to empowering those victimized by sexual violence and providing education in the community designed to improve the understanding of the causes/prevention of sexual assault.

Questions About the Event? Email this event's Program Manager, Britt Iwaszkiw .

What You Get

Get the live webcast and the recording for one price.

Get access to live webcast including Q&A.

Receive permanent and unlimited access to recording.

Download speaker slides and supplemental materials.


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