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Member Profile: Jenn Bradley

Jenn BradleyWhat attracted you to development?

The opportunity to work for my alma mater and serve my school in such an impactful way. The fact that this work is intrinsically linked to our mission of changing lives and making a difference in the world has sustained my interest over time.

How did you come into your role at Mercersburg Academy?

My new role, director of reunions, came after directing the annual fund for five years. In 2016, Mercersburg Academy successfully completed the $300 million Daring to Lead Campaign, and the annual fund was the primary way most alumni, parents and friends participated. During the campaign, Mercersburg's annual fund grew in significant ways, adding close to 1,000 alumni donors, more than 2,800 first-time annual fund donors, and a 24 percent increase in funds raised. In a post-campaign environment with the chance to reflect and look forward, we identified reunion anniversaries as a principal way to reconnect alumni with the school, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to expand our reunion program.

What are some of the milestones you've reached in your current position? What are some of the challenges?

As my role is newly created, I'm still determining the baseline and benchmarks for success. In completing a wealth-screening of all alumni in the current reunion cycle, I've learned more about prospect management, and even better, I've identified some alumni we should spend more time with. It's a challenge to find the appropriate balance between managing volunteers, designing the program, and cultivating major gift prospects. This position has confirmed that it's crucial to meet alumni where they are and to deepen their engagement with the school through personal outreach. Happily, I find that this is also the most rewarding aspect of the work!

How has CASE membership influenced your career?

I'm incredibly grateful for the ways that Mercersburg has invested in my professional development, and much of this has occurred in partnership with CASE. I've attended the CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference for many years, presenting for the first time in 2016. I'm also currently serving on the planning committee for the 2018 conference in Anaheim, California. I've greatly benefited from all of these experiences by meeting amazing people and expanding my network of peer mentors.

What do you like most about your job?

I love to sit down with alumni and learn the story of how Mercersburg shaped the course of their life. Every story is unique, yet every story is tied back to the values that Mercersburg infuses in the student experience. These stories are fuel for me and for the alumni who invest in our current students.

This article is from the BriefCASE 2017 issue.