Fundraising,Strategy Published Date, 2023

Fundraising in Uncertain Times: Strategies for Engaging Donors and Maximizing Philanthropy | Orr Group TALKS

In an uncertain economic climate, nonprofits are working harder than ever to build contingency plans and strengthen relationships with current and prospective donors. Similarly, many donors are turning to alternative assets, including donor-advised funds (DAFs), to maintain their personal philanthropy. With an uptick in DAF activity, organizations are seeking to understand this trend and the DAFs that facilitate charitable giving.

In this TALK, we're joined by Eileen R. Heisman, ACFRE, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), to explore fundraising trends and strategies for planning ahead. Viewers will learn more about NPT's model, discuss current trends in financial engineering, share tips for effectively reaching and engaging DAF donors, and explore additional ways organizations can prepare for and navigate an economic crisis.


  • Understanding current fundraising trends and developing effective strategies for success in an uncertain economy.
  • Tips to effectively reach and engage donors, including insights into donor motivations and preferences.
  • Ways to maximize the impact of charitable giving, including donor-advised funds and other philanthropic vehicles.
  • Insights into how organizations can plan for and navigate times of economic uncertainty.


  • Nonprofit executives and senior staff.
  • Current nonprofit board members.
  • Donors interested in learning about the current philanthropic landscape.


Eileen R. Heisman, ACFRE, is the President and CEO of NPT. She is a nationally recognized expert on charitable and planned giving. Ms. Heisman has been interviewed about philanthropy and donor-advised funds on CNBC, PBS, NPR, CNN International and Bloomberg TV, and by nearly every national newspaper and major trade publication, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, CBS MarketWatch, Financial Advisor, and Investment News. She has been named nine times by NonProfit Times as one of their Power and Influence Top 50, an annual listing of the 50 most influential executives in the philanthropic sector, most recently in 2022. She is currently listed as one of ONE HUNDRED’s top influencers in philanthropy and is the recipient of a 2019 Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Achievement Award. At the invitation of the Chinese government, Ms. Heisman spoke to their emerging nonprofit sector about American philanthropy. She was the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)’s 2014 Outstanding Fundraising Professional, the highest award granted by AFP to recognize effective, creative and stimulating leadership, and the practice and promotion of ethical fundraising. She was also among the first fundraising professionals to earn the distinguished ACFRE certification.

Ms. Heisman currently teaches a graduate course in philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and is also a member of the faculty at LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. She is on the Governance Committee for the Nonprofit Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a periodic lecturer for the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Ms. Heisman is both a lecturer and member of the National Advisory Board at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and serves on Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College Board of Advisors (formerly College of Humanities and Social Science). She served as founding chair of Culture Works Philadelphia for seven years.

Ms. Heisman received a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s in social work with a major in social program evaluation from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the third Wharton Fellows Class at the University of Pennsylvania and completed the Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

As a Vice President, Amanda Nelson brings over 15 years of professional fundraising experience. Amanda provides development and higher education expertise to help drive strategy and growth for the firm. Amanda most recently served as the Associate Dean of External Affairs at The Columbia University School of Professional Studies. In this role, she oversaw alumni engagement, development, board relations, public relations, and communications. As a Vice President, Amanda leads work across multiple areas including campaigns, strategy, fundraising, and planned giving. As a trusted partner, Amanda collaborates with organizational leaders across the nonprofit sector infusing her expertise from higher education with innovative and emerging trends. Her first professional role was at Orr Group, where she launched her career and passion for the nonprofit sector.

Related Resources