Meet our Donor Experience Program Managers: Sarah Duhon

Meet Our DXPMs Sarah
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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 are by your side from day one, helping to build out your team, mentoring new Donor Experience Officers (DXOs), and providing nuanced data-driven 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: Sarah Duhon

Location: Columbus, Georgia

Alma Mater: Coastal Carolina University

Pick up any hobbies recently? I do a lot of hiking! And I take so many walks…it’s obsessive. My family likes to cook and I had never liked it, so I thought “I guess I’m just not going to be this person!” but I think I cook us dinner every night now. I do a lot of walking and a lot of cooking! 

Scenic views from a hike in Yosemite
Sarah and her husband hiking with the best companions: Doris and Leia!

 

What’s your signature dish? I’ve been told I make delicious homemade fettuccine alfredo…all of my friends want to come over for Sarah’s alfredo night. And my husband really likes my shrimp tacos!

bowl of chopped vegetables
Safe to say Sarah has mastered the art of creating BEAUTIFUL dishes

 

What’s your favorite thing about working at EverTrue? Our people. It’s not just our people internally, it’s our clients and working with DXOs, too. I love working with the DXOs, I love helping them, I love seeing them be successful…and I love the internal people at EverTrue because everyone is just so dang passionate about being here. I don’t think I’ve ever worked at an organization where everyone is so behind what we’re doing. Any time we have a DXO win I feel like I’m just as excited as the DXPM for that school even if I don’t manage them directly. I feel like we’re all really invested in it.

Can you tell us a little bit about your previous role and how it set you up for success as a DXPM?
 Before joining EverTrue, I worked for North Carolina State University in the annual giving space, specifically with the College of Agriculture and Life Science, where I had the opportunity to revamp the annual giving program and work on their solicitation calendar.  Before that, I worked at my alma mater Coastal Carolina State University, which was where I started my professional career in fundraising managing their phonathon. Once we eliminated that program I moved into the annual giving and alumni relations space, managing their alumni memberships and working with their annual giving program to help it grow stronger. I started their day of giving and then moved into the major gifts space. I was lucky to dip my toe into a lot of fundraising experiences there!

Coming to EverTrue was awesome because even though I’m not in that traditional fundraising space making solicitations myself anymore, it’s been great getting to work with DXOs in this program and help them grow. I’ve always loved trying new things and pushing the needle, and that’s what EverTrue is always trying to do. Coming in with a fundraising background—knowing what’s going on in the industry and having a pulse on it—has been very helpful for me to be successful in this position.

Which customers do you work with? Emory University, University of Miami, Simmons University, Northern Arizona University, and Arkansas Children’s Foundation

Sarah helped the Emory University DXO team learn the art of polite persistence and how to leverage the EverTrue technology to connect with 20-40 donors daily. This consistent outreach lead to the DXOs booking more than 360 meetings, collectively, in their first year as frontline fundraisers.

What does a standard day look like for you as a DXPM? The first thing is jumping on to check any Slack or Teams messages that have come in either internally or externally. For any of my DXOs who are active, I check in with them to see if they need anything at the start of the day. Right now I’m doing a lot of training, so I spend an hour or two with them each day.

Since you have previous experience in the advancement space, how would you say the DXO approach is different from traditional approaches? I think that the DX approach is a perfect combination of having a road map to follow while still giving the fundraiser the ability to make their own decisions. This program really equips fundraisers with the right tools, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it and it also drives consistency. I mean, I was guilty of it as a fundraiser… I would reach out to someone when I was coming to their area, ask to grab a coffee, and when I didn’t hear back I would move on. The DX approach really doesn’t allow the fundraiser to do that and gives multiple opportunities for the donor to connect with that fundraiser. It’s awesome!

Are there any common observations or results you’re seeing across your teams? We are seeing a lot of donors who the university traditionally wouldn’t have expected to engage, either because they previously had been unresponsive or just hadn’t gotten that one-on-one approach, book meetings with DXOs and show an interest. Even the traditional donors who give the same amount each year and have never been considered for a major gift…we’re seeing surprises every day where they do want to be involved and have just been waiting for that outreach to see their opportunities. I really think driving that one-on-one engagement is opening doors for these donors by knowing more about what their options are for how they can be involved with their university. 

Any pieces of advice for someone who’s just starting out in a DXO role? We all say “trust the process”. I know this can be overwhelming at first and different than what you usually do, but we have your back and it’s going to be okay. Trust the process and know that there’s a whole team of people behind you. You not only have your DXPM but the whole EverTrue team rooting for you, too! We’re always here to help with issues. You also have your whole team at your school or home organization. We’re all working together and there’s no one that doesn’t want to see you be successful.

Learn more about Donor Experience Programs firsthand in our latest Ask Me Anything: Donor Experience webinar, where three current and former DXOs detail a “day in the life” and the tangible ROI from over 35 EverTrue Donor Experience partner institutions.

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