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Independent Primary & Secondary Schools

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Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article The University of Melbourne's "Collision" brand campaign shows that the university is a research institution tackling the world's challenges; Rice University's Owl Edge Externships help undergraduates explore career opportunities and engage more alumni volunteers in the process; and Cheshire Academy's "One Word. One Gift." campaign asks supporters to submit a single word to describe their Cheshire experience and make an annual fund gift in honor of their chosen term.

Revamping the Annual Fund
CURRENTS Article Educational institutions famously undervalue the annual fund, perceiving it merely as a means to unrestricted funds. Recently, however, a growing number of institutions are recognizing how valuable the annual fund is to the organization's long-term health. To gain footing in annual giving, institutions need to assess their programs and constituents, as well as consider trends in the field. For one, many donors have come to expect choice. In a highly competitive philanthropic market, allowing donors to decide where their money goes could make a significant difference in participation. In addition, using the myriad outreach channels available today will pay dividends. Focusing on broad participation, encouraging restricted giving, and using multiple communication channels are key tactics to consider. Here's how four institutions revamped annual giving and achieved results.

A Global Mindset
CURRENTS Article More international schools are recognizing the importance of alumni relations, communications, and fundraising. CASE's Fundraising in International Schools Report 2016 found that 82 percent of the international schools surveyed had a fundraising or development office. The marketplace is changing. Once a bastion for expats whose tuition was paid by corporations, international schools now attract middle-class families in developing and emerging economies. The schools can help launch their children into universities around the world, and having 40 to 60 different nations represented in international school classrooms isn't unusual. Some schools have up to 90—and such diversity means advancement has to be extra diligent and creative. Whether they are American, Singaporean, or German, parents often face a steep learning curve before they become willing to give.

Outlook: How Welcoming Is Your School?
CURRENTS Article A parent of a transgender teen offers advice about creating a supportive community: Those of us who are close to a transgender person know that they struggle with day-to-day issues that are much quieter, less dramatic, and more human than sensationalistic headlines might lead people to believe. As parents, our first goal was to help our child finish middle school as a girl—and enter high school as a boy. Checking out high school options for my transgender son was an educational process both for me and some of the schools I visited. Initially, I wasn't sure what he needed, but I quickly learned that it would be more than just a gender-neutral bathroom.

Outlook: Meet Your New Marketing Team: The Faculty
CURRENTS Article Faculty are essential to your institution's marketing efforts. They are on the front lines delivering the school's mission, interacting with students, and, particularly in the case of independent schools, having conversations with parents and demonstrating that the institution delivers on its promises. All of these daily interactions can increase positive word-of-mouth marketing of your institution.

When Your Alumni Council Is Wilting
CURRENTS Article In 2011, the Alumni/ae Council at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in Minnesota was nearly nonexistent. Other than holding monthly meetings and a lackluster fundraising phonathon, the council sponsored no programs or events; it did not follow its bylaws and had no reporting structure or processes for recruiting new members. Most of the 11 council members were suffering from volunteer fatigue, particularly the president. Few members attended meetings, which were unproductive. The council frequently discussed the need to recruit new members but never developed an action plan. In short, it was time for a change.

Are You Following These Annual Fund Strategies?
CURRENTS Article The 2015/16 Independent School Advancement Survey of 352 institutions, conducted in January 2016, found major differences between what development leaders say is important and what they actually do. Researcher and consultant Ingrid Healy explains the trends.

Advance Work
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS April 2016 Advance Work stories: MIT students continue the tradition of a piano plunge during class drop day; a recent poll gives insight into why alumni don't give; Princeton University social media staff use a game to streghthen skills and teamwork; Lakefield College School boosts giving through an alumni challenge campaign; and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, students place apples at the feet of a statute of Minerva for luck during finals.

Parental Pride
CURRENTS Article The Lovett School gets new parents to give generously by building relationships in the spring, when their children receive admittance letters. When classes start in the fall, the warm welcome to the Lovett Lions community includes intimate gatherings with the headmaster and personalized outreach by highly trained peer solicitors. The result is a strong parent-school partnership.

Respect Between Rivals
CURRENTS Article In the days leading up to their 100th football matchup in November 2015, Gilman and McDonogh schools in Maryland put their rivalries aside to help the Baltimore area through service projects.

Save Prospective Applicants from Hitting a Wall
CURRENTS Article How a website looks and functions affects how people perceive and interact with businesses and organizations. User experience matters. Here's how Friends' Central School in Pennsylvania became more responsive to prospective families' needs by focusing on how those families interacted with the school's website.

2015 Circle of Excellence Grand Gold Winners
CURRENTS Article Emotion and connection were major themes among 2015's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Grand Gold winners. Whether communicating about a deadly virus, cultivating entrepreneurs, engaging alumni with advanced degrees, or sharing the inspiring story of a college student whose life was cut short by illness, institutions dug deeply into their creative toolboxes-though not necessarily into their budgets. They also had fun courting prospective students and welcoming new admits to the family.

My First Year in Alumni Relations
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Meet Brittany M. Weiss
CURRENTS Article Brittany M. Weiss is assistant director of alumni relations at Williston Northampton School, a coeducational boarding school for students in seventh grade through postgraduate year.

Fall 2014
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Spring 2015
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Reflecting One Year Out
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Advice
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

Door-to-Dorm Service
CURRENTS Article For freshmen transitioning to college life, care packages invoke a feeling of home.

A Friend to the End
CURRENTS Article In 2014, Foxcroft, an all-girls boarding/day school serving 157 students in grades 9-12, received a transformative gift of $40 million from Ruth Bedford, class of 1932.

Round of Applause
CURRENTS Article Ten grand gold award winners of this year's CASE Circle of Excellence Awards are profiled here.

A School of Their Own
CURRENTS Article In 2000, an American-style independent school in Colombia opened a day care for its impoverished neighbors as a way to get students involved and meet community needs. When the time came for the two- and three-year-olds to move on, the day care was expanded into a primary school. Then an elementary school. Then a high school, which will graduate its first class this November.

Stepping Out of Chuck’s Corner
CURRENTS Article After spending 15 years building a blog with 75,000-plus readers, Chuck Will retired in June from Proctor Academy, the New Hampshire independent boarding and day school where he worked for 38 years. Before his final post, he shared some lessons he's learned while writing and taking pictures for the quirky, photo-driven blog Chuck's Corner.

Been There, Done That, Made the Video
CURRENTS Article A marketing and communications professional at an independent school details his learning curve and growing pains as he implemented a multimedia plan.

The Student Becomes the Teacher
CURRENTS Article San Francisco University High School's 5-year-old teaching fellowship program is an alumni perk that allows graduates to explore a career as an independent school educator.

Directed Giving
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.

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.

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.

Eastward Bound
CURRENTS Article In Asia, independent schools find newly wealthy parents receptive to educational fundraising.

Senior Moment
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.

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.

Sunny Sums
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.

Long-Distance Connection
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.

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.

Tuition Makeover
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.

Reaching Out
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.

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.

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.

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.

Campaign Strategies: Clearing a Path to Success
CURRENTS Article Stockdale, advancement director of the Webb Schools, describes four strategies the schools used to overcome unpleasant memories from a previous campaign and complete a new $21.5 million campaign. Stockdale advises: 1) Don't be afraid to break new ground. 2) Find leadership givers. 3) Stay focused on the objective. 4) Use resources wisely.

Survey Results for Schools

How do school heads and chief development officers view each other's roles?

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Independent and International Schools Community

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