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Setting an Example

Faculty and staff giving helps boost parent participation

By Theresa Walker

Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing. In the case of annual fund giving by faculty and staff members at St. Catherine's School in Virginia, it has not only resulted in 100 percent employee participation but provided parents additional inspiration to give.

Since 2008–2009, the perfect giving record of faculty and staff has been a point of pride for the all-girls K–12 institution. A concerted effort urging everyone to participate in the annual fund—a sort of vote of confidence in the school, according to Kim Lebar, director of development at St. Catherine's—and the switch to a member of the development office overseeing the effort have made the difference.

While contributing isn't a competition, school division heads who are committed to annual giving set the tone, says Emily Harrison, assistant director of annual giving. "It helps to keep things moving. They take pride in [their division] getting to 100 percent first."

In fact, a teacher who has always contributed was so determined to be the first person to make a gift in the 2010–2011 fiscal year that he dropped off his check last June, postdated for July 1. This kind of commitment and enthusiasm has resonated with parents, whose participation increased from 70 percent to 76.6 percent in 2009–2010, "significant growth in a shaky economy," Lebar says.

Harrison believes that parents take to heart faculty and staff giving. "They know [the teachers] are already giving of their time, but if they can give their resources as well, parents think, ‘Then I can give too.' "—TW

About the Author Theresa Walker Theresa Walker

Theresa Walker is a senior editor at Currents, where she covers the marketing and communications beat.




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