Evaluating Fundraising Success for Independent Schools
Article What metrics should independent schools use to guide philanthropic campaigns? How can they best identify annual fund and major gift trends? One expert in benchmarking answered these and other questions during a recent CASE webinar.
CURRENTS Article Directed giving allows donors to funnel their gifts to broad budget-funding categories but not confine their contributions to specific areas. It helps educate donors about what independent schools achieve with the annual fund while satisfying both their desire to allocate their gifts and the schools' need for flexible donations.
Building Community Five Minutes at a Time
CURRENTS Article Students, alumni, faculty, even parents, at Viewpoint School in California come together at lunch a few times each year to present TED-style talks—known as 5Ups—with the goal of inspiring, igniting, and informing the community. The talks, which are recorded and made available on the school's YouTube channel, are intended to demonstrate Viewpoint's values, vision, and commitment to lifelong learning.
Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results from the 2011-12 Private School Universe Survey
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
Report This July 2013 report presents data on private schools in the United States for grades kindergarten through 12 by selected characteristics such as school size, school level, religious orientation, geographic region, urbanicity type and program emphasis.
Independent School Gift Acceptance Policies
Sample Collection The CASE InfoCenter maintains this collection of gift acceptance policies from independent primary and secondary schools. Policies are arranged alphabetically by institution.
Introducing New Families to Independent School Philanthropy
Article Independent school fundraisers looking to grow parental engagement should analyze how they introduce new families to their school’s culture of philanthropy, said presenters at this week’s CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference.
Mind the Gap
CURRENTS Article If good communication is the key to a successful relationship, it might be time for chief fundraisers and their institutional CEOs to consider couples counseling.
Independent School Annual Reports
Sample Collection The CASE InfoCenter maintains this collection of annual reports from independent primary and secondary schools. Reports are arranged alphabetically by institution.
Experts Share Social Media Best Practices for Independent Schools
Article Social media is a powerful way to strengthen and build relationships with parents, grandparents, students and even the local media, according to two presenters at a recent CASE webinar on social media at independent schools.
Sweet Suite Tradition
CURRENTS Article This brief article highlights an annual winter holiday tradition of the Greenhill School: the kindergarten Nutcracker. The school integrates the Nutcracker into the kindergarten curriculum. Members of the Greenhill senior class who performed the Nutcracker, along with their parents, are invited to attend the dress rehearsal performance, which has become a sort of rite of passage for seniors and their parents.
School Marketing Expert: There's No Marketing without Marketing Research
Article You think your institution’s viewbook needs updating because enrollment is declining—but are you addressing your real problem? Asking the right questions is the first step toward successful marketing research, says an independent school marketing expert.
SCHOOLS-L Followers Weigh in on Attracting Attendees to Independent School Events
Article Participants in a recent conversation on SCHOOLS-L, a CASE listserve for independent schools, shared strategies, tips and case studies on how to raise event attendance.
Experts Discuss Building Advancement Programs from the Ground Up
Article Faculty at the recent CASE Asia-Pacific Schools Conference in Hong Kong say interest in advancement among Asian institutions is growing exponentially—but add that professionals at many schools are struggling to start advancement programs from scratch.
Multimedia Tools Within Reach of Small Shops
Article With a little ingenuity and careful planning, communications and marketing professionals at small shops can make the most of today’s multimedia storytelling tools and still stay within their tight budgets, say two CASE faculty members.
Using Social Media in a Crisis: Independent School Snapshot
CKSyme.org in partnership with CASE
Report This 2012 report looks at how independent primary and secondary schools are integrating social media tools into crisis communications planning. It looks at the percentage of schools with crisis communications plans, the number of reputation-threatening events schools faced in the past year, the percentage of plans that address the use of social media, which social media tools schools are using and more.
CASE File: Largest Gifts to Independent Schools
CASE File The schools on this list have received a gift or pledge valued at $10 million U.S. dollars (unless otherwise indicated) or more. The list is organized in order from largest to smallest gift. The dollar amounts do not represent a donor's cumulative giving to a recipient institution. Information was compiled from press releases, articles, websites and databases. Full citations for sources can be found in the bibliography.
Independent School Head/Chief Development Officer Survey Report
Report Do school heads believe they're getting adequate support from chief fundraisers? Do fundraisers believe that their school heads understand their roles in fundraising success? In fall 2011, CASE conducted parallel surveys of independent school heads and chief development officers to gather their perspectives on their roles and relationship. The surveys and a presentation of the findings are included.
Independent Schools: Think Creatively, Strategically When Managing Social Media
Article Managing your institution’s social media channels can be a daunting task, especially if you’re at a smaller institution. But with the right mindset and tools, communicators can not only manage social networks but also increase interaction, according to one presenter at a recent seminar on effective website and social media management.
CURRENTS Article In Asia, independent schools find newly wealthy parents receptive to educational fundraising.
Students Negatively Affected by School Commercialism, Study Finds
Article Corporate sponsorships for K-12 schools may cover budget gaps but could have a negative effect on the students, according to a new study.
Independent School Case Statements
Sample Collection The CASE InfoCenter maintains this collection of case statements for a variety of campaign types and goals, including CASE award-winning materials. Annotations include each campaign's goal, priorities, time frame, amount raised to date, website and additional publications (when available).
Landmark Ruling for UK Independent Schools Council
Article A high court judgment passed last week in London signifies victory for the UK's Independent Schools Council, says Kate Hunter, executive director of CASE Europe.
K-12 Parents Prefer Email, Website Communication to Social Networks
Article Parents of elementary- and secondary-school-age children prefer to be contacted by schools via email—but they give low priority to social media, according to a new survey.
Brand Aid Part 1: Style Guide
Turnaround Marketing Communications
Article This blog post discusses the importance of a style guide as part of a school's marketing efforts and a key element in a strong brand. Six style guides from independent schools are linked, as is a compendium of higher education institution samples. Part 2 in the Brand Aid series, "Keeping 'Customers' (a.k.a. Parents) Happy," is linked from the article.
Building a Major Gifts Culture at Independent Schools
Online Seminar Building a Major Gifts Culture at Independent Schools
Checklist for a New Communications Office
Turnaround Marketing Communications
Article This blog post and related reader comments recommend documents and items to have on hand or develop if you are a new communications director or starting an office at an independent school.
Engaging Community College Alumni: A Virtual Conference
Conference Join us in March for Engaging Community College Alumni: A Virtual Conference. This groundbreaking initiative will offer practical ideas to build your alumni relations efforts. The virtual format will include multiple opportunities for you to engage with presenters and other conference participants.
44th Annual CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference
Conference Raise your school’s level of success. The CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference draws more than 1,000 advancement professionals from around the world in an effort to transform the future of advancement at independent schools.
Conference These popular workshops are held the afternoon before and the first morning of the CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference and look the latest topics facing independent school advancement professionals.
Independent School Organizational Charts
Sample Collection The CASE InfoCenter maintains this collection of advancement organizational charts for independent primary and secondary schools.
CURRENTS Article This brief article looks at Rye Country Day School's yearly effort to solicit gifts from parents of graduating seniors, thereby expanding its endowment. Parents are encouraged to double their most recent gift to the annual fund. In recent years, parent participation has consistently exceeded 95 percent.
Independent Schools: Balance Risks, Rewards in Social Media
Article Independent schools are finding that social media presents both unprecedented opportunities and unforeseen side effects, according to a new white paper.
Setting an Example
CURRENTS Article When annual giving by faculty and staff at St. Catherine's School in Virginia reached 100 percent, parents noticed the commitment and increased their giving despite the uncertain economy.
CURRENTS Article Friends, parents, and alumni of Sidwell Friends School purchased "solar bonds" that financed the installation of solar panels on the roof of a gym. They receive a modest 3 percent return over 10 years, at which point they will donate the panels to the school.
Talking Points: Speaking to Values
CURRENTS Article Independent schools are wise to publicize new programs that might philanthropically engage their constituents.
Toast of the Town
CURRENTS Article The Catholic University of America nearly doubled its annual fund between the years of 2004 and 2008 by strategically revamping its appeals and by fully engaging a team of alumni volunteers who became "the face of philanthropy" for the Washington, D.C., institution. A sidebar tells how Harley School, a private independent day school in Rochester, N.Y., gave its annual giving program a makeover in less than five years.
CURRENTS Article Transient populations, cultural diversity, language barriers, competing loyalties, and geographic separation are just some of the challenges international schools face in communicating with their alumni. This article explores how international school alumni programs can develop a sense of community with far-flung alumni.
A Snapshot of K-12 Marketing Spending
Report This one-page snapshot reports the results of a 2010 survey of communications and marketing spending by independent schools. The survey of 74 institutions was conducted by Lipman Hearne in collaboration with CASE.
Office Space: Everyone On Board
CURRENTS Article Creating a process for new employees to feel connected to the school can be integral to their success.
Advance Work: Vision Quest
CURRENTS Article Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., put advice from young alumni into action, creating a very transparent, flexible Web site to support its fundraising campaign.
Recetas para Alcanzar el Éxito
CURRENTS Article Las redes sociales están cambiando la forma como interactúan las instituciones con los estudiantes, los profesores, los ex alumnos y los donadores. Debido a su tamaño, las escuelas independientes se encuentran, a menudo, a la vanguardia de la tecnología. Descubra cómo se comunican de forma más eficiente las escuelas a través de las redes sociales.
CURRENTS Article San Francisco's Drew School is guaranteeing new students that their tuition will stay the same for all four years of their high school career. The new policy is called "YES Tuition," which stands for Year of Entry Set Tuition, and this case study examines its beginnings and how the policy is affecting marketing and development at the independent school.
Recipes for Success
CURRENTS Article Social media is changing the way institutions interact with students, faculty, alumni, and donors. Because of their size, many times independent schools are on the bleeding edge of technology. Find out how schools are communicating more efficiently through social media.
Advance Work: Powering Up
CURRENTS Article The United World College of South East Asia starts a robust alumni relations program from scratch.
CURRENTS Article Independent schools continue a historical mandate to serve the greater good by connecting with their communities.
Advance Work: Spin Cycle
CURRENTS Article Each year the Taft School in Connecticut gives seniors a gift to remind them of the school and the importance of giving back to it. This year's gift was something all college freshmen need--a laundry bag.
Advance Work: By the Book
CURRENTS Article The William Penn Charter School took a new approach to publicizing its recent successful capital campaign.
Postcard from Singapore
CURRENTS Article Starting an advancement office at an independent school in Singapore has many challenges. Find out how this alumni relations department had to start from scratch.
Efficient Use of Twitter, Facebook Can Help K-12 Schools Strengthen Outreach
Article Independent schools that haven’t jumped on the social networking bandwagon need to get on board.
Framing Your Mission
CURRENTS Article Although each independent school has qualities that are distinctive, the missions of many schools sometimes sound quite similar. So how do you make your institution stand out? By using marketing to establish your brand.
Talking Points: Treasure Hunt
CURRENTS Article Independent schools are struggling to keep tuition affordable and expand financial aid. This column discusses some alternative revenue streams that schools could tap into.
Independent School Tabloids and Newsletters: Noble and Greenough School - Bronze Award
Best Practice In 2007, Noble and Greenough School launched Ten Campus Drive, a new 8-12 page print newspaper to communicate with parents and other constituents.
Independent School Magazines: The Loomis Chaffee School - Silver Award
Best Practice As the school's primary vehicle of communication, Loomis Chaffee is a quarterly magazine that exists for alumni, parents, friends and benefactors of the school.
Independent School Magazines: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Gold Award
Best Practice NMH Magazine is sent to alumni, current parents, friends and the Northfield Mount Hermon community to engage readers, highlight alumni accomplishments and build institutional pride--while walking the tightrope between complying with administrative perspectives and telling compelling, even controversial, stories.
Independent School Magazines: Brooks School - Bronze Award
Best Practice In the summer of 2007, the Brooks Bulletin underwent a complete redesign. Brooks School brought the design in-house, allowing staff to reallocate resources to printing, paper and binding. The publication has a diverse audience of alumni, parents and prospective students, so it needs to appeal across a broad spectrum.
Independent School Web-Based or Electronic HTML External Audience Periodicals: Upper Canada College - Bronze Award
Best Practice Upper Canada College's communications team produces a monthly e-newsletter, Connection, which reports on activities that happen at the Upper School and Preparatory School. It highlights upcoming and past events, student achievements, guest speakers, fundraising initiatives, contests and other general news associated with UCC.
Independent School Web-Based or Electronic HTML External Audience: Buckingham Browne & Nichols School - Gold Award
Best Practice The Link is an e-newsletter that Buckingham Browne & Nichols School posts eight times a year on the school’s website. The e-newsletter debuted in September 2007.
Fundraising Publications Packages: The Loomis Chaffee School - Bronze Award
Best Practice On Dec. 31, 2006 Loomis Chaffee School concluded its first-ever comprehensive campaign; June 30, 2007 marked the end of that year's annual fund. To celebrate and document the campaign's conclusion and report on the 2006–07 Annual Fund, the school developed a two-part publication package consisting of a campaign report and an annual report. The package was mailed to the school's constituency of 14,200 alumni, parents and friends.
Student Recruitment Publications Packages: North Shore Country Day School - Bronze Award
Best Practice North Shore Country Day School's 2007-08 admissions publications included a lower school viewbook, middle school viewbook, upper school viewbook, upper school prospectus and Acorn, the school's magazine.
Advertising Campaigns: The Bishop Strachan School - Gold Award
Best Practice Highlights of Bishop Strachan School's 2007-2008 advertising campaign included establishing a relationship with a Canadian advertising team to develop a brand style guide and ad campaign; hiring a media buying agency to develop a media plan with the objective of penetrating target markets for day and international students; new ad campaign launched in fall 2007 with "Send Your Daughter to BSS–The World Needs Her" theme; and teacher-driven activities within the school to engage student thinking around the theme.
Student Recruitment Publications Packages: The Winsor School - Gold Award
Best Practice Don't we already have an award-winning viewbook? Do we really need to design a new one? Do we even need a viewbook? The Windsor School communications and admission directors wrestled with those questions with an ad-hoc group of trustee advisors before embarking on a project that resulted in the "Her Education Means the World to Me" and "This is My School" admissions booklets.
Publications Program Improvement: North Shore Country Day School - Silver Award
Best Practice North Shore Country Day School redesigned its admissions publications in 2007.
Publications Program Improvement: Fairfield College Preparatory School - Bronze Award
Best Practice Fairfield College Preparatory School undertook a project to redesign its admissions marketing materials in 2006-2007. The project included a redesigned viewbook, search brochure and advertising poster; partially redesigned admissions application forms; and a new information bulletin.
Recruitment Features: St. Christopher's School - Silver Award
Best Practice St. Christopher's School created a short recruitment video for the web--"Get Here!"--that built on that fact that once families visit the campus, they nearly always submit an application. The piece was posted online during summer 2007 and used to kickoff open house programs in the fall.
Recruitment Features: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Bronze Award
Best Practice Northfield Mount Hermon School produced a recruitment DVD for 2006-2007 that featured four videos that embodied the educational and student life experience through immersive stories of four or five students.
General Information Features: Millbrook School - Gold Award
Best Practice The documentary film "Down School Road: Millbrook at 75" was produced in honor of Millbrook School's 75th Anniversary, celebrated during Alumni Weekend in June 2007. After its initial screening during that weekend, it was sent to all constituents as a memento of the occasion.
Stewardship: The Webb Schools - Bronze Award
Best Practice A goal of The Webb Schools' 2007 annual giving program was to do a better job of stewarding constituents in a creative and cost-effective way. Staff implemented two new online strategies: an e-newsletter for class agents that provided current news to share with classmates, and a flash movie for reunion classes. Staff also redesigned an existing holiday greeting to omit the solicitation and serve simply as a greeting and thank you. These three strategies spread goodwill among constituents, motivated class agents and increased annual giving totals. As of December 31, dollars raised and number of donors reached an all-time high.
Principal, Major, or Special Giving Programs: Springside School - Silver Award
Best Practice A committee of young alumni was instumental in Springside School's fundraising for the Johanna Sigmund Scholarship, which honors an alumna killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Individuals, corporations and foundations contributed to the fund, and several special events were held.
Harvard-Westlake School: Gold Award
Best Practice Harvard-Westlake School implemented a number of strategies to improve its 2006-2007 annual giving program. As a result, the program met its goals and exceeded $6,000,000 in gifts, showed increased individual giving and showed increased participation rates.
Advance Work: The Eagle Has Landed
CURRENTS Article An international independent school has come up with an easy and relevant way to keep its alumni engaged. It involves a stuffed eagle, some pictures, and a blog.
Fundraising Features: Phillips Exeter Academy - Silver Medal
Best Practice Phillips Exeter Academy created this film to sustain momentum in the third year of its comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Exeter Initiatives. The film's primary purpose was to attract attendance and inspire pride at regional events around the country among alumni, parents and friends.
Recruitment Features: Fountain Valley School of Colorado - Gold Medal
Best Practice In 2006, the Fountain Valley School of Colorado engaged in an institutional branding exercise and subsequently developed a marketing plan that called for the creation of the school's first DVD. The FVS strategy was to differentiate the school by its location (the Western region of the United States), opportunities, community and through genuine stories of students and faculty.
Staff Writing for Independent Schools: St. Albans School - 2007 Bronze Medal
Best Practice The Bulletin is the premier publication of St. Alban's School. It is distributed three times per year to alumni, current and past parents and grandparents, faculty, staff, donors and friends.
Student Recruitment Publications Packages: Noble and Greenough School - Silver Medal
Best Practice The Viewbook Suite created by Noble and Greenough School was very strategic, conveying accurate information in a vibrant way and making it an enjoyable experience for a prospective student. It included an "Insider’s Guide"--a collection of students' candid perspectives. The materials were well-received by prospective students, their families and the internal community.
Student Recruitment Publications Packages: Landon School - Gold Medal
Best Practice Landon School has long used the tagline "Landon Knows Boys" on an informal basis but decided to take advantage of the message and expand it to reflect the school's greatest strengths. The "Landon Knows Boys" materials were well-received and staff felt they clearly defined Landon as distinct from other schools.
Publications Program Improvement: Berkeley Carroll School - Gold Medal
Best Practice After an audit of Berkeley Carroll School's marketing and communications materials, the school redesigned all of its print and electronic publications as a part of a revised marketing and communications strategy to attract parents and students.
Independent School Tabloids and Newsletters: Chapin School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice Chapin Today is a quarterly newsletter with an academic focus for parents, alumnae, grandparents and others. It supplements other publications, such as the alumnae magazine, to keep constituencies up to date.
Fundraising Publications Packages: National Cathedral School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice The "It All Adds Up" package marketed the National Cathedral School's 2006 $1.4 million annual fund campaign.
Institution-Wide Branding Programs: The Wellington School - Silver Medal
Best Practice Located in a highly competitive market, The Wellington School developed the "Lifelong Learners, Lifelong Leaders" branding program to market the school to various constituencies to increase and retain students.
Print External Audience Tabloids and Newsletters: Chapin School - Gold Medal
Best Practice Chapin Today is a quarterly newsletter with an academic focus for parents, alumnae, grandparents, and others. It supplements other publications such as the alumnae magazine to keep constituencies up to date.
Independent School Magazines: The Hotchkiss School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice A year's cycle of the Hotchkiss Magazine began with the usual compendium of news and features. Then plans for the year were upended by the head of school's announcement in February 2006 that he would step down in June 2007. Every issue in 2006 reflected this most important news of the year, and mailing was delayed twice to ensure the most recent news on the search was included.
Independent School Magazines: Northfield Mount Hermon School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice NMH Magazine goes out to alumni, current parents, friends, and the NMH community. It strives to deeply engage readers with the school, highlight alumni accomplishments and build institutional pride.
Independent School Magazines: Milton Academy - Gold Medal
Best Practice Milton Magazine seeks to increase awareness of the school’s character, sustained excellence and distinguishing features through highest quality writing and photography and discussion of important and thought-provoking ideas. It works to enhance connections with alumni and celebrate the role of alumni in the life of the school, as well as in public life. The magazine tracks the history of the school, while increasing awareness of its traditions and highlighting new developments.
Independent School Magazines: Watkinson School - Silver Medal
Best Practice The Watkinson News is the school's public forum for examining what a Watkinson education means and for modeling the process of self-evaluation asked of students. In addition to this modeling—an important form of teaching in itself—the main goal is to convey to readers the depth and seriousness with which the magazine pursues questions essential to an excellent education.
Alumni Programs: Upper Canada College - Silver Medal
Best Practice Upper Canada College's Common Ties Mentorship Program facilitates relationships between students, alumni and members of the community to help individuals excel educationally, professionally and personally. The program offers three distinct services to the UCC community: an Alumni Career Mentorship Program, an IB University Mentorship Program and Common Ties Events.
Student Recruitment Publications Packages: Wellington School - Silver Medal
Best Practice "We are Wellington" materials are the flagship pieces of the Wellington School brand. The look and voice that started with them now permeate all outreach efforts--from the website to the magazine to capital campaign materials. Embedded in the materials are consistent key messages that reflect Wellington's philosophy, "proof points" that give evidence of how these goals are realized, and real-time photographs. This authenticity is the result of two years of collaboration among marketing professionals and Wellington stakeholders; the messages were mined through extensive research and review.
Web-Based or Electronic HTML External Audience Tabloids and Newsletters: Hawken School - Bronze Medal
Best Practice Hawken School’s monthly e-newsletter, H@wkeNews, was conceived with the purpose of driving traffic to the school’s Web site and building community by informing constituents of news and upcoming events. Newsletter items link to feature stories, new sections of Hawken’s growing Web site, fundraising information, and downloadable audio files. A monthly contest calls for alumni to become involved in the growth of Hawken’s electronic photo archives.
Advance Work: Fat-Free and Profitable
CURRENTS Article School fundraisers are usually more necessary than fun, but selling books instead of sweets might help sales and provide a better profit margin.
Advance Work: Something in Common
CURRENTS Article Smaller institutions sometimes need to think about economies of scale when planning alumni events. A group of European independent schools did just that and pulled off a successful joint reunion in New York.
As the World Turns
CURRENTS Article Development is a relatively recent activity in European independent schools, which have unique cultural and historical challenges regarding fundraising. This article describes what the challenges are and how several schools abroad are overcoming them. One important strategy is having a strong development team made up of the head of school, the board chair, and the development director. Each has a specific and critical role to play.
Advance Work: Hard Act to Follow
CURRENTS Article This article examines one independent school's successful faculty giving campaign.
Ties that Bind
CURRENTS Article The relationship between independent school officials and parents is complex and ever-changing. Although both sides are working toward a common goal--giving students the foundation they need to lead happy and successful lives--they often don’t, or can’t, understand the other’s point of view. This article examines the school-parent relationship, as perceived by both sides, and recommends strategies school officials can implement to transform parents into partners rather than adversaries.
AdvanceWork: Underdogs No More
CURRENTS Article Keeping alumni of private primary and secondary schools connected to their alma maters can be difficult in the face of competing loyalties to their high schools, colleges, and universities. Annmarie M. Wilmeth, former director of development at Browne Academy, and Maggie Szymanek, director of development and publications at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, spoke about this issue at the 2004 CASE/NAIS independent schools conference, where they offered several tips for increasing alumni loyalty.
A Balancing Act
CURRENTS Article Numerous studies have shown that independent school students tend to enjoy more personal and professional success than their public school peers. But an independent school education comes at an extraordinarily high price. These schools aren’t accessible to many lower- and middle-class families, and they can “cherry pick,” to some extent, whom they educate--two facts that perpetuate the idea that independent schools are nothing more than “elitist institutions that exist to perpetuate a well-connected ruling class.” Whether the myriad benefits students who attend independent schools reap from their experiences nullify the social implications of the increasingly limited access to such benefits by the general public is a broad question that might have no definitive answer. Part of the issue focus on valuing education.
Write-Minded: The Learning Curve
CURRENTS Article The editor of the alumni magazine at Northfield Mount Hermon School describes what she learned in her first months and years on the job. She offers some tips for generating fresh story ideas, such as keeping files of newsworthy alumni, looking for human-interest stories, borrowing elements of fiction, using a variety of genres, and searching creatively for writers.