How to Create Great Annual Fund Appeals

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Your annual appeal letters are the core to the success of your annual fund campaign—a great letter is what inspires people to give. When your case for giving creates a connection between your donors’ interests and values and those of your school, you can craft an inspiring letter to help fuel your annual fund campaign.

This Webinar will help show you how to make that connection through the telling of your school’s unique story. Learn how to discover your school’s authentic voice, and then how to place that voice into a letter that captures the attention of your donors and prospects.

Join us for this popular Webinar presentation as we explore the elements of crafting an outstanding annual fund letter!

You'll cover these topics and more:

  • Does your letter tell a story—one that is directly related to your mission?
  • What is the case for giving in your letter?
  • How can you tailor your case to your different constituencies?
  • Who writes the letter? Who signs the letter?
  • What are the key elements that make up the structure and format of your letter?
  • How do you segment your letter to request an in-person visit, make a specific ask, and solicit existing donors and prospects?
  • What is the time frame for sending out your letter appeals to your various constituencies?

Run Time:
Total run time is 60 minutes. The presentation will run approximately 45 minutes with 15 minutes designated for Q&A.

staff photo paula schwartz

Paula Schwartz, Ed.D., IAP-L

ISM Senior Consultant | Director of Fundraising Group | Advancement Academy Convener


Paula joined ISM in 2002 after nearly 20 years working with various educational institutions to plan and execute their development, communications, and research programs. She provides services in the areas of annual, capital, endowment, and major gifts fundraising.

Current Role

As Senior Consultant and Director of ISM’s Fundraising Group, Paula:

  • Consults in development assessments, planning exercises, feasibility studies, case statements, campaign coaching, prospect research, and database management and utilization
  • Has advised and worked on-site with more than 150 schools across North America, many of them more than twice
  • Writes for ISM’s publications, including Ideas & Perspectives
  • Leads leadership and Board retreats, and coaches professional and volunteer leaders
  • Conducts workshops and webinars on annual giving, capital and endowment campaigns, major gifts programs, advancement staffing, and performance evaluation
  • Keynotes and speaks at education conferences including AMS, AISNE, CASE, FCIS, SAES, NCAIS, and CAPS
  • Convenes ISM’s Advancement Academy for expert practitioners in the areas of admission, enrollment management, development, and marketing communications
  • served as co-architect of ISM’s International Advancement Certification Program for advancement professionals in private-independent schools

She holds the Leader Certification through ISM’s International Advancement Program (IAP-L).

Prior Experience

Before joining ISM, Paula was a Vice President with Waters Pelton Ostroff & Associates, Inc., a fundraising consulting firm. In that capacity, Paula conducted numerous development assessments and capital and endowment campaign feasibility studies, totaling more than $65.5 million.

Previously, Paula was Director of Development for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra; Director of Corporate Relations at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia; and consultant to the Children’s Television Workshop, WNYC-TV, and the New York City Office of the Mayor. She headed and taught at four international institutes established at Duke and Columbia Universities, and for the Council on International Educational Exchange.


Paula earned her doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, NY. She also holds two master’s degrees, in TESOL and in education, also from Teachers College. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, IA.

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