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Saturday, Jan. 21


2:00–5:00 PM
Preconference Advancement Workshops(choose one)


Advancement 101, Part I: The How-to for Annual Fund and Alumni Relations

Is your office strategically working to grow your annual fund and alumni relations programs? Discuss two programs that are critical to your school's success. This session identifies best practices and ideas that can be used by everyone.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the fundamentals of an annual fund program including the solicitation calendar, selecting appropriate solicitation vehicles for various constituencies and affinity groups, family of funds (or not), and ideas for increasing your participation percentage.
  • Review strategies for building your alumni program, techniques for engaging future alumni before they graduate, and learn how to decide where to invest resources.
  • Learn how the annual fund and the alumni program should work together to strengthen both.

Christina Jarke, Director of the St. Mark's Fund; and Jim Bob Womack, Director of Development, St. Mark's School of Texas


Millennials, Xers, and Boomers

As private-independent school marketing professionals welcome the first waves of millennial parents into their multigenerational target audience, they find themselves in a marketing quandary. How do they continue to connect to the last waves of Baby Boomers while meeting the marketing and communications needs of the newest generation of private-independent school parents? Understand what motivates the enrollment and philanthropic decisions of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Learn how to segment your approach to boost your appeal to all three generations of parents by creating a multilayered marketing strategy.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop strategies to market your school to Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennial parents.
  • Understand the decision motivators for each generation and learn how to segment your appeals based on these factors.

Phil Higginson, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement, Ravenscroft School; and Amy Riley, Consultant, Independent School Management


Alumni Blueprints: A Strategic Plan Workshop

Many of us walk around with a virtual strategy locked in our heads. We know our goals, and we know the key activities that help us reach those goals. But how do we get those ideas out of our heads and share them with alumni volunteers? Strategic planning can help you assess your current situation and determines priorities that are essential to your mission. This workshop focuses on helping you set the framework for strategic planning. Panel presentations will offer a toolkit and resources to start the process. Roundtable discussions will give you time to hear from other alumni professionals. Whether you now approach strategic planning as just a strategic focus discussion or the creation of an actual plan, it's important to get everyone on the same "playing field" before you begin.

Katie Young, Director of Alumni Relations, Greenhill School


Persuasive Development Writing Workshop

When it comes to development writing, questions abound.

  • "Is there a format or formula I should model?"
  • "Should the ask be at the beginning, middle or end?"
  • "Whose voice should I use?"
  • "What's the difference between an annual fund ask and a major gift request?"
  • "Can I use an exclamation point?!?"

And, unless you have a bullpen of writers to tackle your stack of solicitations for you, these questions and the lack of time to ponder them can make asking in a letter a daunting task. This workshop breaks down the different types of solicitations and looks at the many types of donors and explores how they prefer to be asked. Whether you're trying to crank out an annual fund volunteer letter or a major donor solicitation, the approach is the same. Learn techniques for writing on an abrupt deadline, interviewing gift officers and assessing donor preferences. In addition to reviewing samples from various institutions, you'll get a chance to share some of your own work and receive valuable feedback from colleagues. So, come ready to pick up some tried and true best practices and a treasure trove of usable examples that will help you be a better—and faster—writer. This session requires a laptop.

Matthew Honeycutt, Director of Institutional Advancement, Whitby School, Greenwich CT



Sunday, Jan. 22

8:30-11:30 AM
Preconference Forums (choose one)



Advancement 101, Part II: The How-to for Leveraging Volunteers and Learning to Make the Ask

In the first half of this session, you'll explore how to recruit, manage and thank volunteers to ensure they have a fulfilling experience. In the second half, we'll take the mystery and fear out of "asking." Whether it's an annual fund ask, a volunteer recruitment call or a simple stewardship visit, learn how to effectively build relationships and increase involvement with one-on-one meetings.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss strategies around recruiting and managing volunteers by providing measurable goals and appropriate training.
  • Review the process for getting the visit and the art of making the ask. Talk through challenging situations to prepare for an ask.

Scott Jolly, Senior Director of Leadership Gifts; and Jim Bob Womack, Director of Development, St. Mark's School of Texas


The Effective Advancement Team

This workshop takes advancement professionals in development, marketing communications and admissions through a self-evaluation exercise using ISM's Advancement Core Values. It will assess the effectiveness of your efforts and inspire your team to greater success. The exercise provides an assessment tool to aid developing your own action plans for inspired advancement teamwork.

Penny Rogers, Director of Admission and Marketing, Academy at the Lakes; and Paula Schwartz, Senior Consultant, Independent School Management


The Ultimate Marketing Bootcamp

Maximize your marketing impact. This workshop focuses on key areas of marketing to provide best practices in developing strategies for marketing, including email, social media, blogging and SEO campaigns. Learn from Cheshire Academy's case studies, including their highly successful email workflows and blog, as well as their award-winning annual fund marketing strategy that combined print and digital efforts.

Learning Objectives:

  • Get actionable tips and tricks you can implement immediately.
  • Develop comprehensive digital strategies.
  • Build useful mini-marketing plans to enhance your school's outreach efforts.

Cody Barbierri, Assistant Director of Social Media Marketing; Caitlin Garzi, Associate Director of Digital Marketing and Communications; and Stacy Jagodowski, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, Cheshire Academy


Planned Giving 101: Demystifying the Path to Greater Gifts

Want to take your donors to a new level of giving? This workshop investigates ways for you to help prospects turn their dreams into potentially transformational contributions. Don't leave huge gifts on the table because of your lack of understanding about planned giving. Discover how to get started today.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the components of every good planned giving program.
  • Determine key qualities in good planned giving prospects.

Herbert Soles, Assistant Headmaster for Development, Norfolk Academy


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