Eight Ideas for School Milestones

Vol. 14 No. 8

development eletter Vol14 No8 milestonecelebration

Does your school have a special milestone approaching? Such anniversaries offer an excellent opportunity to ramp up advancement efforts. Start planning for those special years, and take advantage of the community spirit to push your school’s advancement plans to the next level.

  1. Make your “leadership” level of donations relate to the school’s founding year. So if your school was founded in 1968, a donor must give at least $1,968 to be acknowledged at the higher donation level.
  2. Resurrect events and traditions from the school that may have fallen by the wayside over the years—and then use them as donor cultivation events!
  3. Set your fundraising targets to a multiple of your year anniversary. For example, if your school is celebrating its 50th anniversary, then make your target $50,000—or even $5,000,000! (Remember that any major capital campaigns should be planned years in advance, and preferably with a study to evaluate the feasibility for such an endeavor.)
  4. Hold a specially themed fundraiser, encouraging antiques and other valuables related to the year of the school’s founding to be donated.
  5. Host class reunions for your oldest alumni, inviting them to campus for a special ceremony to honor their years of dedication to the school.
  6. Publish a special book in which the school’s history and accomplishments can be catalogued. Ask the school community for photographs and memorabilia to help turn the book into a paper time capsule, or even as an online magazine or slideshow.
  7. Throw a party as a thanks to the community for their continued commitment to the school! This event should not an opportunity for active solicitation, but rather a way for the school to openly show its appreciation to supporters.
  8. Feature distinguished alumni as part of a year-long guest speaker series to classes and community alike. To students, they could offer a glimpse into where their private school education could lead; to the community, they serve as school-ambassadors as industry professionals with interesting and relevant information to share. (Working with these distinguished alumni for the speaker series also presents a donor cultivation opportunity.)

What has your school done in honor of a special anniversary or milestone? Share your ideas with your fellow Development Directors in the comment section.

If your school’s advancement materials need a facelift in preparation for an anniversary marketing and fundraising campaign, join fellow Directors and expert advancement leaders in Wilmington, Delaware, for ISM’s Annual Fund Writing Clinic on June 22-24. You’ll work hands-on with your school’s annual fund marketing materials to write, rewrite, or refresh your annual fund branding. Call 302-656-4944 to register. (Remember to ask about reduced tuition if you add on our annual fund workshop, Your Annual Fund From A to Z!)

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Development Directors Vol. 10 No. 8 School Anniversary Milestone on the Horizon? Here's What One School Has Done to Get Ready

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