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IACP Guiding Principles

The ISM advancement faculty have developed a set of principles for Advancement Professionals to guide us in honoring our responsibilities to our schools; to our constituencies, both current and future; and to the students and families we serve. These principles form a standard of professionalism for all of us who work in school Advancement Offices. In each of our schools, there are many challenges, a variety of tasks, and many responsibilities we undertake. These principles are designed to serve as both inspiration and guide to support and reinforce the very best that we can offer our schools in the service of all our constituents.

These Guiding Principles, including the mission, advancement actions, and core values, represent the highest performance standards for all Advancement Professionals.

Advancement Professionals’ Mission

  • We advocate for the missions of our schools.
  • We deliver the missions of our schools.
  • We identify and secure resources—both human and financial—to support the missions of our schools.

Why Do We Do What We Do?

As Advancement Professionals, we believe deeply in the missions of our schools and are compelled to take action. As servant leaders, we put this belief into action by helping provide resources to the School Head to enable faculty to provide the students with the education we promised. We are motivated by an inner drive to inspire others to support the schools’ missions with a consistent and compelling message. Doing this well results in the school receiving the optimal support it needs to sustain, mature, and enhance its programs and activities.

How Do We Serve Our Schools?

All advancement activities are guided by our schools’ strategic and financial plans.

These essential documents focus our schools’ futures and define their programs—fueling our message and reminding our constituencies about our schools’ plans to ensure programmatic excellence for generations to come. We support the strategic objectives of the Head and the Board of Trustees, ensure that advancement plans are aligned with these objectives, meet advancement goals, and deliver on the promises we make.

Advancement creates, maintains, and nurtures relationships with the schools’ diverse constituencies.

We communicate with and educate our constituencies concerning the value of attending and investing in our schools. We know that families enroll in our schools and make philanthropic gifts according to their values and interests. It is our task to uncover their values and establish, maintain, and nurture relationships—so that when families decide to enroll and re-enroll in our schools and make gifts, they will be acting on their values. Our marketing and communications activities are designed to support these efforts. They convey a message of community that helps our constituencies appreciate the value of their schools and become enthusiastic partners in their schools’ activities.

Advancement Professionals engage, involve, and celebrate our schools’ constituencies.

We find opportunities for our constituencies to contribute their time, talents, and resources. We identify unique opportunities that are hallmarks of our schools' experience. Becoming involved in our schools deepens our commitment to their vision and well-being. The generosity and participation of our constituencies make a difference not only to our students but to our entire school community.

Advancement Professionals preserve and enhance philanthropy and volunteerism in our schools.

We promote active participation from all members of our schools’ communities. It is this spirit of giving and volunteering that supports our schools’ tradition of excellence. This excellence sets each school apart from other institutions. Developing this culture begins when a family enrolls in a school. It deepens throughout the school experience as families re-enroll and are given opportunities to give and get involved in the community. It can endure after they graduate, when they are reminded of how their school has helped to shape their lives.

Advancement Professionals act in an ethical manner.

Acting ethically includes how we practice our profession, act according to the highest personal and professional standards, put mission above personal gain, inspire others through our own sense of dedication, and improve our professional knowledge and skills in order to better serve others. To support these ideals, in addition to affirming these Guiding Principles, Advancement Professionals also subscribe to the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice, and Donor Bill of Rights developed by AAFRC, AHP, CASE, and AFP.*

*While these fund-raising organizations are broad in scope, these principles apply to all areas of advancement.

Advancement Professionals continue to grow in their profession.

Professional development sustains learning by focusing directly on the needs and challenges that affect performance. It also taps into the technical and leadership strengths we possess and share with our colleagues. Keeping current in the latest advancement strategies through workshops and seminars is a regular and frequent activity. Beyond formal learning opportunities, Advancement Professionals develop and maintain a network of fellow professionals with whom to share and exchange ideas and perspectives, which we recognize as an important element of lifelong learning.

Core Values for Advancement

  1. We believe students come first. Schools are designed to serve students.
    The school’s mission should clearly reflect this commitment, and Advancement Professionals are unwavering in their support of this commitment.
  2. We conduct business in a truthful, respectful, honorable, and legal manner.
    Advancement Professionals develop and maintain relationships with people from all of the school’s constituencies. To be long-standing and fruitful, the relationships are founded on trust. Each individual can trust the words and deeds of the Advancement Professional.
  3. We actively engage and support our professional and volunteer team.
    Professional and volunteer partnership provides a climate within the school that marries institutional needs with the needs of our constituents who want to give of their time, talents, and resources. The vibrancy of this partnership is dependent upon our ability to inspire colleagues and volunteers through our own sense of dedication and purpose, strategic support in order to ensure their success, and ongoing celebration of who they are and how they make a difference in the lives of our schools.
  4. We seek data-driven solutions.
    To be effective, Advancement Professionals must maintain and provide accurate and easily retrievable data. Properly retrieved and analyzed, this data provides the groundwork for an Advancement Office’s planning and subsequent activities. We practice effective office management with well-mined and organized data. The ability to brief various members of our school communities with pertinent facts (“the data”) is critical in gaining and maintaining trust with our various constituencies.
  5. We are committed to data privacy and confidentiality.
    Advancement Offices gather and organize a significant amount of information about our schools’ constituents. Much of this information is highly personal and confidential. Advancement Professionals must safeguard data at all times and always honor the privacy of all constituents.
  6. We are imaginative and innovative in crafting the message.
    The work of each Advancement Professional endeavors to capture the interest and support of our schools’ constituencies. Their interest and support are most effectively gained and sustained when the message crafted by the Advancement Professional is creative and compelling, helping constituencies distinguish their school from all others.
  7. We are compensated fairly and not through commissions or bonuses.
    Advancement Professionals are part of the school’s administrative structure, just like Division Heads and Business Managers. They are hired to perform certain functions for the good of the school. Therefore, their compensation is a fixed salary that is based on the tasks expected of them, not on the amount of money raised or the number of students admitted.
  8. We meet or exceed the expectations of our constituents.
    We are always willing to take the extra step to serve the people connected with our schools.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please email IACPregistrar@isminc.com or call Marie Kelly, Manager of International Advancement Certification Program (IACP), at 302-656-4944x152.

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