Top Ten Development Articles of 2014

Vol. 13 No. 5

development eletter Vol13 No5 Top10

Over the past year, we’ve written on a range of topics, from treating your faculty like prospective donors to the partnership between the Development and Admission offices—and we’ll be sure to cover more hot topics in the year to come. Before we move on, though, let’s look back to articles from our top-read editions of the Development e-Letter in 2014.

1. Development Is From Mars, and Admission Is From Venus

Vol. 12 No. 5

Why we’ve included it: Readers gravitated toward our description of the seemingly diverse offices—one focused on the excitement of attracting and retaining new students, and the other concentrated on how to pay for those students’ educational experiences. If the latter is to be achieved, the two offices must break through their silos to share their school’s need and mission with the whole community from the start.

(A quick aside—we host an Advancement Academy every summer specifically to facilitate this sort of teamwork within schools. We invite you, your Admission Office, and your school’s marketers for five days of intensive, hands-on workshops that culminate in a custom action plan for the coming school year.)

2. Faculty as Donors

Vol. 13 No. 3

Why we’ve included it: Those looking for some practical advice on generating greater faculty participation during fundraising initiatives and the annual fund should take a minute for this article.

3. “Going Once! Going Twice!” Awesome Auction Ideas

Vol. 12 No. 6

Why we’ve included it: Our Advancement Professionals e-List had a lively discussion about school auctions this fall. The advice and ideas they shared were too good to not share with everyone, so if you need some inspiration for your school's auction, go ahead and take a peek!

4. Your “Ask” Calendar

Vol. 12 No. 7

Why we’ve included it: It’s easy to forget all the different occasions your school asks for favors or funds from parents, burning out your families and making them resentful. When we realized how common the issue was, we decided to put this article together to raise awareness about your families’ tolerance level for fundraising “asks”!

5. The Anatomy of a (Great!) Thank-You Letter

Vol. 12 No. 8

Why we’ve included it: From time to time, everyone needs inspiration to turn a run-of-the-mill thank-you template into a letter that inspires your donors to give again. With the end of the holiday donation season, we thought it was time to give you a quick reminder on how to take advantage of this communication opportunity.

6. Your Introduction to Annual Fund Videos

Vol. 13 No. 1

Why we’ve included it: Now’s the time to plan for next year’s annual fund campaign. Have you considered producing a video to explain to new parents what the annual fund is and why it’s important to your school? We collected five schools’ video explanations representing a wide range of budgets and creative talent—all of which do a great job of presenting the annual fund in the context of their schools and missions.

7. Donor-Advised Scholarships

Vol. 13 No. 4

Why we’ve included it: How much influence should a donor wield in the selection of a scholarship recipient? The law has drawn some clear lines on how donors can—and cannot—be involved. It’s always good to double-check that your school’s scholarship policies are toeing the line.

8. Frequently Asked Questions About the Annual Fund—And How to Answer Them!

Vol. 12 No. 9

Why we’ve included it: Questions come at throughout the year. Being prepared to answer them requires planning, and while we can't tell you exactly what to say, we can help you figure out the appropriate response for your school.

9. The Pros and Cons of Payment Methods

Vol. 13 No. 2

Why we've included it: Just as there are appropriate times to phone someone instead of email, there are situation-dependent methods to collect funds from donors. Know them, and ensure that you're making your fundraising process as efficient and painless as possible.

10. Seven Video Thank-Yous From Private School Development Offices

Vol. 12 No. 10

Why we've included it: We leave you with this final note of inspiration for your own program. While the importance of a printed thank-you letter should never be discounted, a video thank-you allows for a fun, entertaining way to make sure your donors know your appreciation—and gives them something to show to friends and family.

What were some of your favorite articles from 2014? What would you like to hear more about in 2015? Tell us in the comment section, or tweet us @isminc!

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 32 No. 6 Why Getting a Quick, Large Gift May Be a Campaign False Start
Vol. 36 No. 12 Strengthen the Ties Between the Development Director and the School
I&P Vol. 28 No. 15 Interdependence That Brings Financial Independence
Vol. 35 No. 10 Integrating Faculty Into the Advancement Process
I&P Vol. 27 No. 8 Ethical Issues for the Development Office
I&P Vol. 32 No. 10 Seven Gift Planning Tips for a Small Development Office

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