Meet Our Donor Experience Program Managers: Emily

Donor Experience Programs by EverTrue are changing the game in shops all over the country, letting you manage thousands of your best, overlooked prospects. What’s our secret ingredient? Our Donor Experience Program Managers (DXPMs) — all former fundraisers — are by your side from day one, helping to build out your team, mentoring new Donor Experience Officers (DXOs), and providing complex reporting to keep your program on track. 

Get to know our DX experts; how they got into fundraising, what a typical day is like, and why they’re so excited about the future of advancement!

Your name: Emily Smeltz

Location: Indiana, PA

Alma Mater: Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)

Who would play you in a movie? That’s tough. Meg Ryan, maybe?

What is your favorite part of working at EverTrue? I have to pick only one?! 🙂 The authenticity of the people and their dedication to the mission of higher education.

Pickup any hobbies during quarantine? Is home schooling a hobby? If so, then that’s the one!

What’s your signature dish or drink? I’ve been told I make some mean meatballs.

Previous job and how it set you up for success as a DXPM: Prior to joining EverTrue, I worked in advancement at my alma mater for nearly fourteen years. I began my career leading the phonathon and then shortly thereafter, the annual giving program as a whole. I transitioned to serve as a Major Gifts Officer and ultimately led the Major Gifts Team as Director of Individual Giving. My experience helped me to build a solid understanding of the fundamentals and strategies for fundraising at all levels of the giving funnel. My work involved coaching and guiding other front-line fundraisers in their work as well as connecting with key stakeholders across the university. By leveraging best practices and building relationships with donors, our team was able to garner significant support for the university’s priorities.

Emily's phonathon days (when they manually dialed the phones and used paper cards!) in the fall of 1997

How would you describe your role? I help DXOs to maximize their front-line fundraising outreach efforts and be the most efficient they can be by using EverTrue’s data, software, and services. I’m a coach and a confidence builder. I provide my counterpart managers at the university with data and analytics they need to ensure that success is championed and accountability is ensured.

What skills do you find most critical to your role? The ability to synthesize data, a knowledge of fundraising practices and principles, communication skills, patience as universities embrace change, the ability to coach and build confidence

Any common observations or results you’re seeing across your DX teams? The WOW look when they see how it all comes together and how much it will help to make them more efficient in their work. Our tools are pretty phenomenal (I would have killed for them as a fundraiser!) and we relieve a lot of pain points related to organization and work planning. Gone are the dreaded (and outdated) Excel workbooks for tracking. And the social media integrations we offer take out a lot of the guess work related to what matters to donors. Our DXO teams spend their time crafting outreach that they know will resonate from touchpoint #1.

What does a standard day look like for you? All of my customers are in different phases of implementation, so I start and end each day by taking a pulse of where things are and what needs to be done next for each one. For those who are up and running, I review their activities and outreach progress, taking care to identify what’s working really well but also what we could improve upon. Each week, we have team meetings, manager meetings, 1:1 meetings. We also use Slack or Teams to communicate throughout the day. We are a tight-knit group, and my main goal is to serve as a resource! For newer customers, I deliver program training, build customized resources, and facilitate communication during implementation. We carefully track what needs to be done next and ensure our timelines and deliverables are on target.

How do you encourage your DXOs? I really celebrate their wins early and often. I will often help to reassure them they are doing the things well, and that builds their confidence. The more confidence they have, the more likely they are to embrace the process.

Any recent wins or stories that you’re particularly excited about? One DXO recently had 27 people who were assigned to her make a gift during Day of Giving. She entered 25 of them into a stewardship cadence, meaning they’ll get a personalized experience directly related to the gift they gave.

What piece of advice would you give someone who is just starting out in a DXO role? Buckle up and have fun! Donor Experience work is really just fundraising work, but on steroids. You’ll be doing everything you loved as a traditional gift officer, just differently and at a higher volume. If you can be open to change and trust the process, you’re sure to connect with tons of great people and ultimately make a meaningful impact for your university.

Stay tuned for the next installment in our DXPM series, and learn more about Donor Experience Programs today!

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Kim Selwitz
Kim Selwitz
3 years ago

We love having you on the team, Emily, and you are truly crushing it as a DXPM!