COVID-19: Communicating with Alumni & Donors

Recorded On: 03/27/2020


As school advancement teams adjust to the COVID-19 Pandemic, one of the many challenges they face is how to best communicate with alumni and donors. To explore this issue, Dan Allenby (AGN) led a conversation with industry experts Reggie Bustinza (Northern Illinois U.), Vanessa DiCarlo Carta (UMass Boston), and Laura Tepper (Penn Law) in which they shared their experiences, offered perspectives, and tackled some of the important questions.

Register now to learn how to communicate with alumni and donors during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Perspectives on the  most appropriate messages and channels for communicating with constituents
  • Guidelines for postponing events or moving them to a virtual format
  • Ideas for advancement units to stay in sync with deans, presidents, boards, and other institutional leaders
  • Tactics for helping advancement teams remain focused and productive as they work from home
  • And more!

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Vanessa Carta

Director of Donor Engagement and Stewardship, UMass Boston

Vanessa Carta is the Director of Donor Engagement and Stewardship at UMass Boston, where she oversees all stewardship outreach, including cultivating the institution’s relationships with endowment and current-use scholarship donors. Her decade of experience in advancement also includes roles with the annual fund and as a frontline development officer for a graduate school, centers, and institutes. She currently serves as the regional president of Santa Clara University's Alumni Association Boston chapter. Vanessa has an MA in Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance from UMass Boston and a BA in Religious Studies and Sociology from Santa Clara University.

Reggie Bustinza

Executive Director, Northern Illinois University Alumni Association

Reggie Bustinza is the Executive Director of the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association, where he oversees financial progress, works with campus partners, and manages a team of alumni relations and communications staff in order to meet association goals. In this role, he also serves as lead liaison to the NIUAA Board of Directors and cultivates potential board members. Reggie’s previous positions include alumni relations management at Lewis University and Bradley University. Reggie holds an M.B.A. in Business Administration & Management and a B.A. in Communication, both from Bradley University.

Laura Tepper

Executive Director of Development, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Laura Tepper is the Executive Director of Development at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where she oversees all annual, major, and planned giving efforts. Her 15-year career includes work in both annual giving and major gifts, and her expertise includes leadership gift strategy, volunteer management, reunion giving, direct appeals, and phonathons. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.


Communicating with Alumni and Donors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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