Admission and Development Go Hand in Hand

Vol. 12 No. 6


Last month, we discussed how the Admission Office can seem like another planet to Development Directors, but that it’s possible to keep everyone working toward the same goal: a happy, healthy school pursuing its mission to the best of its ability. Everyone has a different way of approaching the same target, and the different perspectives allow for the shared goal to be achieved.

Let’s consider the Development Office. At first, it may seem as though their mission is almost antithetical to yours—after all, asking for money drives people away, doesn’t it?

Not really. Think about it from their perspective: Development Directors spearhead efforts that make it possible to afford improvements for your school. From facility improvements to professional development training, the Development Office’s efforts go beyond keeping the lights on—they help set the stage for the education you want to provide for your students.

The Development Director may be more adult-focused and zeroed in on a donor’s bottom line, as opposed to the Admission Office’s more student-centric recruitment model. They may even request information that you, as Admission Director, shouldn’t share due to privacy restrictions. (Take special note of this fund-raising mistake as a lesson in how not to do things!) Ultimately, though, both offices play a role in recruiting—and re-enrolling!—mission-appropriate students.

So, how can the Development Office help the Admission Office with its mission to grow your student community?

  • Consolidate your social media accounts. Multiple accounts for one school make sending out consistent, accurate information about news and events nearly impossible. The Development Director may have more and different sorts of “friends” or “followers” than the Admission Office alone could reach.
  • Coordinate community events. Just as the Admission Office is student-oriented, the (typically) more adult-focused Development Office can help create deeper experiences for the family as a whole. (Plus, more people promoting your calendar can only have positive results!)
  • Communicate with alumni effectively. Alumni relationships mean different things to different offices. The Development Office sees them as a potential source of revenue (“Maybe they’d like to have other kids have the same sort of excellent education that they had”), while the Admission Office uses the alumni to help with recruitment (“Look at what wonderful things our graduates have done!”). Both of these goals can be effectively accomplished at once through cooperative outreach in a joint, annual newsletter or other publication, rather than both offices attempting to petition the same constituency individually.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM Private School News Vol. 10 No. 6 Keeping Communications Open and Flowing in Your School

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 37 No. 6 21st Century Schools: The ISM Advancement Model
I&P Vol. 36 No. 14 Alumni Relations and the Portrait of the Graduate

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