Sarah Wagner

Vice President

I work collaboratively with staff, board members and donors to create the best strategies to ensure that my clients’ needs are met and goals are achieved and surpassed.

Recent Clients Served

  • Academy for Urban School Leadership
  • Baker Demonstration School
  • Chicago Academy for the Arts
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Chicago Community Trust
  • Cedille Records/Chicago Classical Recording Foundation
  • Chicago Opera Theater
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Children’s Home + Aid
  • Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund
  • Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
  • Evanston Public Library
  • Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
  • Goodman Theatre
  • Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra
  • International Crane Foundation
  • Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society
  • LEARN Charter School
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • National Park Foundation
  • Rare
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • The Nature Conservancy - Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin
  • United Way Metro Chicago
  • Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • YWCA Evanston/North Shore
  • YWCA Kalamazoo


Arts & Culture, Environment, Human Services, Independent and Public Schools, Capacity Building, Professional Associations, Volunteer Training, Board Governance, Major Gift Fundraising, Campaign Preparation and Implementation 


Sarah Wagner’s 32 years in the nonprofit field inform her every interaction. She treats each engagement as a partnership, gaining the trust of each organization’s staff, leadership, and donors as she works to understand its needs and goals, and she develops recommendations to help all stakeholders work together to move the organization forward—mentoring young development professionals along the way. Sarah sees projects through until the end, and she often works with clients across multiple stages of growth, applying her industry knowledge and motivational attitude every step of the way.

Sarah especially excels at:

  • Working with every level of an organization’s staff, volunteers and donors to understand the whole picture and ensure that every voice is heard and concern addressed
  • Connecting donors with staff and board members to create a personal experience for each donor
  • Creating leadership gift strategies
  • Maximizing staff and volunteer strengths
  • Advancing an organization despite what may seem like insurmountable challenges
  • Developing strong boards
  • Supporting campaign volunteer leaders to be successful in their roles
  • Helping solicitors articulate a clear and compelling case for support
  • Building a strong and sustainable culture of philanthropy
  • Operationalizing major gift activity
  • Increasing contributed revenue

Before joining Campbell & Company, Sarah served in senior development positions at Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago City Ballet and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sarah graduated from Amherst College in the first class of women. She is Chair of the Advisory Council of the YWCA, chair of the Evanston Township High School Educational Foundation and has served in leadership volunteer positions at Amherst College, the Evanston Community Foundation, The Music Institute of Chicago, her church and other nonprofit organizations. Sarah is a member of 100 Women Making a Difference. Sarah is a former director of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Chicago Chapter, and co-president of the founding group of Women in Development Professions. She is a frequent guest lecturer on issues in philanthropy.