Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 12

How Presidents and Development Directors Work Together

Mutual respect and common understanding are essential to productive relationships between chief executives and chief advancement officers at community colleges, says one such duo from a two-year institution in New York.

Anne M. Kress, president of Monroe Community College, and Diane L. Shoger, executive director of the MCC Foundation, have enjoyed a dynamic working relationship since 2009.

"We both have mutual respect for each other's role at the institution," Shoger says. "We're actually located on separate campuses, so I think that's forced us to have a more pro-active dialogue."

Shoger says she is fortunate that Kress and her administration "respect the philanthropic process." She notes that some of her colleagues who work at other institutions aren't so lucky.

"The administration here doesn't treat the foundation as an ATM when they have a project," Shoger says. "They understand that not everything is going to be a good idea and that not everything will work. It's just a matter of finding out what works best for the institution and matching that with donor interests."

Kress says her deference to Shoger on most matters as they relate to fundraising is simply a factor of her role as president.

"In many respects, that's the president's job, period," Kress says. "I don't go around telling [Shoger] what to do any more than I tell our provost what to do about academic matters. I have a voice, but boundaries are important to any successful leader."

Presidents who marginalize their foundations do so at their own peril, Kress adds.

"Every CEO who is hired today needs to understand that it's not the foundation's job exclusively to raise money but that it's the CEO's job to help [the foundation officer] in that effort for there to be success," Kress says. "That has to be the expectation up front."

To get that dialogue started, Kress advises that presidents ask their chief advancement officers to serve as part of the presidential cabinet. She also suggests that presidents not be afraid to ask their CAOs for direction. Shoger adds that CAOs should always ensure that they have a similar outlook on institutional advancement as their president, noting that the working relationship is a "two-way street."

CASE is currently conducting parallel surveys of community college CEOs and chief advancement officers to gather their perspectives on their roles and relationship. It will resemble a recent survey of independent school heads and chief development officers, the results of which were unveiled earlier this year at the CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference.

Kress and Shoger encourage all community college CEOs and CAOs to use the survey as the basis for a conversation about the way in which they can work together most effectively to raise private support for their institutions.

"I think it's a non-threatening way to start a conversation," Shoger says of the survey. "It'll be interesting to see the results, and I'm sure there will be answers that will surprise us."

CEOs and chief development officers at any college or district who both complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a chance to receive complimentary registration for both to attend CASE's inaugural Conference for Community College Advancement in October where the survey findings will be presented. A complimentary copy of the results also will be available to all survey respondents.

The survey deadline is Monday, June 25, 2012. For questions or comments regarding the survey, contact Paul Heaton, director of the CASE Center for Community College Advancement, at or 202-478-5570.

For those who would like to participate, click the links below to begin the confidential, 10-minute survey:

This article is from the June 2012 issue of the Community College Advancement News.


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Summit for Leaders in Advancement
July 15 - 17, 2012
Washington, D.C., United States

Take a few days to explore thought-provoking ideas with your colleagues and glean the newest ideas from expert speakers. You will come away challenged, invigorated and inspired to be a stronger advancement professional and leader.

Get New Staff Up to Speed

Send newcomers in advancement to one of CASE's flagship training programs this summer and provide them with the foundation they need to advance your institution. Summer Institutes take place in July 2012 in the following disciplines:

Communications and Marketing
Alumni Relations
Advancement Services
Educational Fundraising

Conference for Community College Advancement
Oct. 3 - 5, 2012
San Diego, Calif.

More Community College Resources
See the full list of CASE resources for community colleges.