Strategic Idea Generation Sessions

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With the tremendous collective expertise at this conference, we are excited to offer a learning opportunity that thrives on audience participation. These strategic idea generation sessions are designed as an opportunity to tap into that expertise and learn from each other.

How it works:

  • Each session is run by a moderator who stimulates conversation on a topic with a few starting points.
  • Small groups tackle a handful of questions that they report out to the rest of the group.

Bring your expertise, provide your thoughts and learn from others who bring their schools' perspectives. From the host of these shared ideas and practices, you will be able to take away the ones that are most applicable to your work environment.

Topics for these sessions vary and are available during each track session time slot. So, come and engage in strategic idea generation with your colleagues!


Sunday, Jan. 22

3:00-4:15 PM

Affinity Groups for Giving and Engagement

Phil Higginson, Assistant Head for Institutional Advancement, Ravenscroft School



Getting a Grip on Athletic Fundraising

A professional athlete who is an alum and not giving, a revered coach doing his own fundraising, alums giving directly to coaches, Athletic Hall of Fame athletes not supporting the annual fund. Any of these sound familiar? By working together athletic fundraising can be a huge benefit to any school if managed properly.

Facilitators: Craig Hall, Chief Advancement Officer, Blair Academy; and Pamela Winthrop, Director of Institutional Advancement, Chinese American International School


Monday, Jan. 23

11:00 AM-12:15 PM

Making the Most of Your Communications Office

Whether you are a communications office of one or 10, whether you report to the head of school or an advancement officer, whether you are a school of 100 students or 2,000—this session is for you. With the help of your colleagues, you will have an exciting opportunity to think through new, strategic ways to approach your work. Annual reports, social media, internal communications, annual fund appeals—you and your table mates will set the agenda for this session. Bring a notepad and an open mind!

Facilitators: Susie Cain, Director of Communications, Sterne School; Pam Dickinson, Director, Office of Communication, The Harker School; Alex Perez, Communications Director, Menlo School; Dana Rakoczy, Director of Strategic Communications, Sacred Heart Schools; and Jill Shaw, Director of Strategic Communications, Viewpoint School



Donor Relations: Know When to Hold 'Em and Know When to Fold 'Em

While settling into your new job, you are reviewing prospect lists and your eye lands on the name of a very wealthy, very well-known family. As you dig deeper into their donor file, you learn that this alumnus hasn't made an annual fund gift since the school became co-educational 20 years ago. They come to reunions, and write into the magazine, but they aren't giving. You pick up the phone and...

Facilitators: Craig Hall, Chief Advancement Officer, Blair Academy, and Pamela Winthrop, Director of Institutional Advancement, Chinese American International School
Facilitator: Katherine Precht, Director of Institutional Advancement at Friends Seminary



Are the Right People On the Bus?

The question is a little like the chicken and the egg. Do you start by asking, "Are all my team members fully deployed on priority tasks? And if so, are we still leaving money and relationships on the table?" Or, do you start by assessing your opportunity and then asking "Do I have the right team?" A well-practiced consultant who balances fundraising with business plans every day shares some of the best ways to figure out the answers. Hear from your peers about how they have evaluated plans and staff, made a successful case for investment or restructuring, and came out the other side better for the effort.

Victoria Jones, Executive Vice President, Development Guild


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