The New Development Director

The New Development Director
The New Development Director

Date(s): -
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Certification Credits: 40 IACP

Whether you’re a new Development Director or just joining a private-independent school, learn the foundational principles of development within your community that support your mission and drive it forward. Discover how your development strategy should fit into the overall advancement efforts of your school, the role of volunteer programs and special events in promoting community and philanthropic giving, and how to develop your custom action plan for the coming school year.

An understanding of the components of an effective development operation—and how those components interface with your school’s strategic priorities—is critical to your success as a Development Director.

Whether you’re new to the position or need to adapt your current skills to an independent school context, this workshop provides training and support as you define your individualized priorities and create your action plan for the coming year. This workshop covers fundamental concepts, provides you with general knowledge of the wide range of responsibilities in a typical Development Office, and delivers an understanding of priorities so that you can strategically drive your program.


    • Gain a solid understanding of foundational private-independent school development and fundraising theory.
    • Understand how development fits into the overall advancement efforts of your school.
    • Support your Trustees as champions of all of your fundraising efforts.
    • Identify your professional and volunteer leadership teams.
    • Develop donor-centered annual and campaign programs.
    • Discover the role of volunteer programs and special events in promoting community and philanthropic giving.
    • Learn effective strategies for data management, analysis, logistics, and partnering with your Business Office.
    • Set priorities and develop your action plan for the next school year.
    • Engage in peer-to-peer and group role playing and problem-solving.
    • Meet one-on-one with the workshop leaders.

      Who Should Attend:

      Directors of Development who are new to their positions or new to private-independent schools and Development Office staff with cross-functional responsibilities or future director expectations should attend.

      Michael Christopher

      Michael Christopher, IAP-L

      ISM Advancement Consultant | Assistant Headmaster for Development at Lausanne Collegiate School


      Michael shares his expertise in building comprehensive development programs from the ground up. He believes a successful development program has solid operations, strong annual funds, proactive constituent cultivation, and robust communication and marketing programs.

      Current Role

      As a member of ISM’s Advancement Team, Michael:

      • Serves on the ISM Advancement Academy faculty
      • Acts as a member of the ISM Summer Institute faculty
      • Authors and co-authors articles for ISM publications, including Ideas & Perspectives
      • Presents national education conferences, including CASE-NAIS, APC, ISAS, NAIS, and NAES
      • Assists schools with development, planning, governance, and school identity as an ISM Consultant

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

      Michael also serves as the Assistant Headmaster for Development at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tennessee, a PK–12 International Baccalaureate World School of 860 students.

      At Lausanne, Michael has rebuilt the development program, overseen development of alumni programs, built planned giving offerings, instituted a major gifts effort, and run two capital campaigns. In doing so, he restructured the staff, created a culture of philanthropy within a highly diverse community, and supported the Board with three major strategic planning efforts.

      Michael oversaw the incorporation and serves on the Board of Lausanne Learning, Inc., a non-profit educational services organization that supports the financial aid programs at Lausanne Collegiate School.

      Prior Experience

      Previously, Michael was Director of Development at Greensboro Day School and Holland Hall School in Tulsa, OK. He started his career in school advancement at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, where he was Associate Dean for 15 years.


      He has a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in music from Cornell College (IA).


      LJ Mitchell

      L.J. Mitchell, IAP-L

      ISM Advancement Consultant | Director of Development at The Calhoun School


      L.J. provides expertise in development for private-independent schools, specifically building the annual fund and hosting special events fundraising.

      Current Role

      In July 2018, L.J. joined The Calhoun School in New York City as Director of Development. With ISM, he:

      • Leads or co-leads Summer Institute workshops on the annual fund and the development office
      • Teaches and mentors advancement professionals during ISM’s weeklong summer Advancement Academy
      • Conducts annual fund action plan and volunteer training consultations
      • Assists ISM on Feasibility Study assignments, in particular working with clients to craft their campaign case statements

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

      L.J. has presented at conferences for CASE-NAIS (2015, 2014-Stellar Speaker), NYSAIS, and The Episcopal Church of the United States. He continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for Mary McDowell Friends School in Brooklyn, NY.

      Prior Experience

      Most recently, L.J. served for four years as the Director of Advancement at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City, a 14-year progressive program for 650 students. Since joining the school in July 2014, LREI experienced record-setting annual giving results in annual fund, special events, and endowment campaign fundraising.

      During the school year 2013-14, L.J. was Director of Development at Seacrest Country Day School, a PK-12 college preparatory school for 450 students in Naples, FL. In that one year under L.J.'s leadership, the annual fund increased 185%.

      Before joining Seacrest in July 2013, L.J. was the Director of Development for Mary McDowell Friends School in New York City, a K–12 independent Quaker school in Brooklyn that serves 390 students with learning disabilities. L.J. joined the school in 2008 as its first Director of Development. During his five-year tenure, the annual fund doubled and the school tripled its capital campaign dollars.

      From 2005–2008, L.J. was Director of Development at The Churchill School and Center in New York City, which serves 400 students with learning disabilities in grades K–12. There, he exceeded his annual fund goal by $200,000 each year, for a total increase of 45% over three years. He supervised a $10 million endowment campaign for faculty enrichment, raised within a one-year period.


      L.J. earned his master’s degree in fine arts from the American Conservatory Theater, CA; his juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School, MA; and his bachelor’s degree from College of the Holy Cross, MA.

      Workshop Schedule (subject to adjustment)

      (Continental breakfast is available starting at 7:00 a.m. and breaks are at 10:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily.)


      7:00-8:30 Registration and Breakfast

      8:30–10:15 Session One

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Two

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Three

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Four

      5:00-5:30 General Session

      5:30-6:00 Reception with ISM

      6:00 Dinner with ISM



      8:30–10:15 Session Five

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Six

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Seven

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Eight

      5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM



      8:30–10:15 Session Nine

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Ten

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Eleven

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Twelve

      5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM



      8:30-10:15 Session Thirteen

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Fourteen

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Fifteen

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Sixteen

      5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM



      8:30-10:15 Session Seventeen

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:00 Session Eighteen/Action Planning


      31.25 hours

      Workshop Location
      Hilton Penns Landing 
      201 South Columbus Boulevard 
      Philadelphia, PA 19106 

      The Hilton Penns Landing on the Delaware River, adjacent to Independence Seaport Museum and summer activities alone the river. It is the walking distance to historic Old City Philadelphia. Group hotel reservation rate of $209 is available until June 17, 2019. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

      Reserve Your Room

      Make your hotel reservations by:

      • Reserving your room online
      • Calling 215-521-6500 and let then know you are with ISM or Independent School Management Summer Institute


      The Hilton Penns Landing is pet-friendly. Please contact the hotel for details.


      Delta Airlines is offering Advancement Academy attendees discounted fares. Click this link to get to Delta reservations. Fill in your departure city and destination (PHL). If the Meetings Event Code box is empty, use the Meeting Event Code NMSM8. You may also call Delta Meeting Network® at 1-800-328-1111, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (CT) and refer to Meeting Event Code: NMSM8.

      American Airlines is offering Advancement Academy attendees discounted fares into Philadelphia (PHL). Visit and select your flights. At the bottom of the passenger info form, you will see “Promo Codes and accounts.” Click “edit” and use code 9979BT. Then proceed to picking your seats.

      Getting there from Philadelphia International Airport

      DIRECTIONS: Take the Philadelphia ramp on the left to merge onto I-95 N. Take exit 20 for Columbus Blvd. Turn left onto S Columbus Blvd. Hotel will be on the right.

      Distance from Hotel: 11.7 miles

      Drive Time: 15 minutes

      How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

      It is essential that your school approves the following email addresses from ISM:


      You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation email and access to your workshop's Google Drive account—from these e-mails.

      What does my registration fee include?

      All workshop materials, breakfasts, lunch or dinner daily, and social hours are included.

      What is not included in my registration fee?

      Hotel accommodations and travel expenses, other meals not noted.

      What should I wear?

      Meetings rooms are generally cold, as temperature control in meeting spaces and large convention centers is difficult. Please bring a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt.

      Summer temperatures average mid-80s to a low of 65. It can get quite hot—into the 90s—and humid. The classrooms and guest rooms are usually comfortable, but you may want to dress in layers in case the rooms are too warm or too cool for you. Dress is casual. Wear whatever is comfortable—jeans, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. For current weather conditions, we recommend checking

      What should I bring?

      You’ll receive a letter from your workshop instructor letting you know what to bring. However, please bring a laptop or tablet for online access.

      Where can I work out?

      The Hilton Penns Landing offers a fitness center and a pool, as well as bicycle rentals. Since the hotel is located on the river, you have easy access to walking in Old City, as well as on the riverfront.

      Can my special dietary requirements be met?

      Absolutely. Just give the Workshops Department a call at 302-656-4944, and we'll make sure your needs are accommodated.

      How much free time will I have?

      There are periods before, between, and after workshop sessions for relaxation, recreation, and socializing.

      Should I need medical or dental attention, where should I go?

      Should you need medical attention in a non-emergency, notify ISM staff and the hotel staff. The hotel can recommend what facilities are available, and may be able to supply transportation. In an emergency, call 911.

      Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

      We will correspond with you through email as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its start date. Occasionally, we may be forced to cancel an unconfirmed, scheduled workshop due to insufficient registration. So we ask that you do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive notice that your workshop is confirmed. (ISM will not be responsible for any change/cancellation charges assessed by your airline or travel agent.)

      Tuition Payment and Cancellation Policy for In-Person, Group-based Programs

      Tuition must be paid in full 10 business days prior to the start date of the in-person, group-based program. An attendee with a balance due on the start date will be denied entrance to the program until the balance is paid in full.

      Cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing, faxing to 302-656-0647, or mailing to: Professional Development Coordinator, ISM, 1316 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE, 19806.

      • Cancellations received more than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will be fully refunded. Gold Dollars will also be fully refunded.
      • There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 15 business days before the start of the program. For registrations paid for with membership Gold Dollars, the member school will receive a 50% refund of Gold Dollars.
      • Non-payment of tuition or no-show to the event does not constitute a cancellation. Full tuition will be due and payable.

      The Substitution Option and Wallet Option

      Should an attendee need to cancel less than 15 days prior to the start date of the workshop, the school has two options to avoid penalty. Schools may also exercise these options at anytime for cancellations. 

      1. The school may substitute another employee.
      2. The school may bank the funds for a future ISM registration. These funds must be applied to a professional development event within one year from the start date of the original workshop. After one year, the funds will be forfeited. To use banked funds, please call the Professional Development Coordinator at 302-656-4944 x152.

      *We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.



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      Our Guarantee

      ISM believes in providing quality and excellence in all of our workshops and in ensuring the satisfaction of everyone who attends. Nearly 100% of our participants say they would recommend our workshops to their colleagues. If you are not satisfied with your workshop for any reason, ISM will credit the fee you paid toward another similarly priced workshop or will refund it.

      If you have any questions, click below to send us an email. 

      Workshop Registration

      Register for your Workshop online by filling out the form below. 

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