Dorri McWhorter | CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Dorri McWhorterDorri McWhorter became CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in 2013 and has embarked upon a journey to transform the 140-year-old social service agency to a 21st century social enterprise through expansion of digital services. Dorri led the process for the YWCA to develop an exchange traded fund (ETF) for women’s empowerment (NYSE: WOMN) and was included in the inaugural list of “The Blue Network”, comprised of the top 100 innovators in Chicago, by Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation. Dorri is a 2019 Inductee in the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame.

Dorri serves on the board of directors for William Blair Funds and Skyway Concession Company (Chicago Skyway). Dorri is also active in the accounting profession having served as a member of the board of directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the current vice-chairperson of the board of directors for the Illinois CPA Society.

Discussion guide

How would you respond if someone told you an algorithm could deepen the relationship between a donor and the nonprofit she supports? That technology could replace face-to-face interaction, which has been the crux of fundraising for decades, if not centuries? Former Google X engineer and chief business officer Mo Gawdat proposed that people can engineer apath to joy in his book, Solve for Happy. Is it so far-fetched to think that philanthropy and fundraising is not far behind, that algorithms might be able to help solve the intractable problems facing society?

The digital transformation has affected every aspect of life, including philanthropy. Technology has influenced fundraising, improving back office functions and the ease of segmenting emails to various audiences. It has expanded ways for people to give from online platforms to mobile apps. Technology may make measuring results with philanthropy easy with a focus on dollars raised, but is that the only way to measure generosity as James Hodge questions in his essay below?

How does one account for other acts of generosity such as contributions of time and talent? Moreover, is technology a replacement for or a complement to the hard work of relationship building in fundraising? How do we deepen relationships in fundraising in the digital age?



  1. Identify 3-5 ways in which technology has improved operations at your organization. To what extent has technology replaced or complemented the work?
  2. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, how have you or your organization leveraged technology to build or deepen relationships with donors? What feedback are you receiving from donors about the use of technology at this time?
  3. Where can technology be most useful in the fundraising cycle?
  4. Think about a time when a nonprofit you support let you down. Did technology help or hinder? How did you respond?
  5. What is your philosophy of relationship building in philanthropy? Under what circumstances does it happen effectively? How important is it to the sector?