Fundraising & Development
Fundraising & Development

Our mission is to help you fund yours.

Launch a successful capital campaign. Bolster your annual fund. Create and implement an extraordinary major gifts program.

These are the fundraising goals of many private-independent schools. But school leaders aren’t sure what strategies are effective, what will work in their communities, or how to structure their campaigns to achieve long-term success. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for fundraising—each strategy must begin with your unique needs and build on your strengths to achieve your goals.

Learn how to develop successful strategies to engage and bring donors closer to your institution. No matter your school size, history, or pedagogy, explore how to plan, implement, and evaluate your fundraising strategies to realize your full potential.

 

All consultations can be designed as an onsite, virtual, or combination virtual/onsite engagement.

 

Development/Advancement Operations

For the school looking to review, improve, and recharge its operational approach to Development, including office systems, volunteer support, and database review.

Foundational review of Development operations • Strategies to start or reimagine a robust development program

For the school wishing to create a solid operational foundation for its development efforts, including a review of office procedures, prospect engagement capabilities, Board involvement, and volunteer support, and applying these results to a strategic development plan.

The ISM Development Operations Assessment is a thorough analysis of a school’s development programs. The Consultant examines all aspects of the development operation, including office procedures, gift accounting, and database maintenance. We’ll also review the identification, engagement, evaluation , solicitation, recognition and stewardship of your school’s donors, the school’s prospect research capabilities, and the Culture of Giving and Getting Involved. The resulting report serves as a foundational document for starting, refreshing, or reimagining a robust development program in your school. Included with the Assessment is a workshop that unpacks the recommendations and sets the course for the future through the creation of a Development Action Plan.

Foundational review of Development operations • Strategies to start or reimagine a robust development program

For the school wishing to conduct a virtual assessment of the school’s operational foundation for its development efforts, including a review of office procedures, prospect engagement capabilities, Board involvement, and volunteer support.

The ISM Development Operations Assessments is a thorough analysis of a school’s development programs. The Consultant examines all aspects of the development operation, including office procedures, gift accounting, and database maintenance. It also includes attention to the identification, engagement, evaluation, solicitation, recognition, and stewardship of their donors, the school’s prospect research capabilities, and the Culture of Giving and Getting Involved. The resulting report serves as a foundational document for starting, refreshing, or reimagining a robust development program in your school. The report is delivered electronically without an accompanying workshop.

 

Systematic review of current data and practices • Tools and training for the future

For the school wanting to use its data more effectively or looking to make its understanding of its constituencies more data-driven.

The ISM Database Review is for the school wanting to use its data more effectively or is looking to make its understanding of its constituencies more data driven. That’s because A school’s fundraising database is an essential institutional asset housing unique sets of qualitative and quantitative information.

Through this assessment you:

  • Gain a systematic, data-intensive perspective on where your school is now.
  • Develop tools to improve practices that support your fundraising programs.
  • Ensure that your personnel are trained to maintain your school’s database accuracy moving forward.

Data assessment • Identify top prospects • Receive templates and training

For the school looking to begin a data-driven major gifts campaign or that would like to understand their annual fund leadership prospects better.

For schools looking to improve the information they gather about their donors and prospects and create donor profiles that can fully support your prospect management system. The ISM Consultant will assist the school in setting research procedures and priorities that are customized to the size and capabilities of your staff.

Create systems for managing donors • Identify ‘top 50’ prospects • Receive templates and training

For the school that is establishing a data-driven, systematic approach to identifying, engaging, evaluating, soliciting, recognizing and stewarding its annual fund, capital campaign, or major gifts prospects.

Managing prospects effectively is the foundation of a comprehensive development program. The ISM Consultant assists the school in creating systems for managing prospects, developing donor profiles and identifying the “top 50” prospects for whom plans should be developed.

 

Individualized coaching • Personalized advice

For the School Head who is looking for direct counsel in development, either for general management of that responsibility or in preparation for a capital or major gift effort.

This is an opportunity for the School Head to work directly with a Consultant for mentoring and advice on issues related to capital project fundraising, major gifts campaigns, special events, the annual fund, database management, supervision of the development operation, and more.

Individualized coaching • Personalized advice

For Development Directors looking for direct support either for someone new in the role, for general management, or in preparation of a capital or manor gift campaign.

This is an opportunity for the Development Director, Annual Giving Director, or other members of the development team to work directly with a Consultant for mentoring and advice on issues related to the annual fund, special events, alumni, capital project fundraising, major gifts campaigns, database management, and more.


 

Annual Giving

For the school looking to jump-start a new annual fund program, analyze and improve your current program, or take annual giving to the next level.

Program evaluation • Tailored plan for success • Training for staff and volunteers

For a school that has a stagnant or declining annual fund and wants to analyze and redesign its annual giving efforts to produce more and consistent revenue from annual donations.

Annual giving is the foundational program for schools to build a culture of philanthropy. ISM will assist a school that wants to start an annual giving program or re-energize its current efforts. The Consultant evaluates your current program, advises on annual giving best practices tailored for your school, trains volunteers, and helps to create a workable annual giving action plan.

Program evaluation • Personalized recommendations

For the school wanting to take a deep dive into its annual giving program, looking for systems and solutions to take results to the next level.

The ISM Consultant evaluates your current program according to best practices and makes recommendations for taking the program to the next level.

 

Current case evaluation • Create new Case • Design supporting materials

For the school with an annual Case for Giving that is no longer inspiring the community.

The ISM Consultant works with development staff and volunteers to create an annual Case for Giving tailored for your school.

Dedicated support for screening prospects • Target-setting

For development staff who would like assistance in screening prospects and setting targets as part of a rejuvenated annual giving effort.

The ISM Consultant assists with the identification, rating, and setting of targets for annual giving prospects.

Identify prospective volunteers • Design a recruitment and training process

For the school just establishing a volunteer-based annual fund plan and looking for help in defining and recruiting the volunteer corps that will be a major factor in the success of the plan.

An important component of a successful annual giving program is its volunteer cabinet. The ISM Consultant will assist in creating job descriptions, identifying prospective volunteers, advising on the recruitment process for each, and conducting volunteer training.

 

Systematic plan for supporting donors and prospects

For the school wishing to be systematic about stewarding its supporters and improve retention of donors year-to-year in the annual fund.

A robust stewardship plan is key to retaining donors. That is why a carefully crafted and executed Stewardship Plan is an important component of a successful annual giving program. This workshop takes staff and volunteers through the process of creating a successful plan.

 

 

Capital Campaigns

For the school considering a capital campaign or currently in one and looking for assistance for any element of the project.

Create a foundation for a successful capital campaign • Review current strategies and approaches

For the school wishing to create a solid operational foundation for a capital campaign, including a review of office procedures, prospect engagement capabilities, Board involvement, and volunteer support. You’ll learn how to apply these results to your upcoming campaign plan.

The ISM Development Operations Assessment is a thorough analysis of a school’s development programs. The Consultant examines all aspects of the development operation, including office procedures, gift accounting, and database maintenance. We’ll also review the identification, engagement, evaluation , solicitation, recognition and stewardship of your school’s donors, the school’s prospect research capabilities, and the Culture of Giving and Getting Involved. The resulting report serves to help prepare your school for the specialized needs of a capital campaign.

Goal analysis • Review readiness in relation to goals

For the school seeking a broad-brush look at the school’s readiness to conduct a campaign, including an analysis of the Board and staff’s ability to support such an effort.

This consultation is designed to take a broad-brush look at the school’s ability to operate a campaign, through the lenses of strategic decision-making and operational readiness.

Prepare your Board for a capital campaign

For the School Head looking to ready the school and Board for the forthcoming capital campaign.

The Consultant will advise your Board and development staff on the steps to be taken to get ready for and execute a campaign.

Create a Case for Giving based on your strategic goals and community desires

For the school looking for assistance in the development of the Case for Giving for the planned capital campaign.

A compelling Case for Giving is the key to successful campaigns. The ISM Consultant will develop a Preliminary Case Statement for your campaign, based on the strategic goals of the school, the project’s place in those goals, and community input about the project.

Lay a foundation for a successful campaign • ISM Consultants conduct surveys • Detailed analysis and training

For the school looking to lay a solid foundation for a capital campaign, including testing the purposes and gathering a data-backed consensus on the strength of the proposed capital project.

The ISM Feasibility Study is a data-rich assessment of your school’s ability to meet the goals of the projected capital campaign. Through data gathered from community, demographics, surveys, and up to 60 interviews, ISM Consultants will evaluate community perceptions of the project, make recommendations for the best way to make the Case for Giving, the timing of the fundraising, and project an estimate of total funds that could be raised.

Lay a foundation for a successful campaign • Advice from ISM Consultants while your school conducts surveys and performs analysis

For the school looking o lay a solid foundation for a capital campaign, including testing the purposes and gathering a data-backed consensus on the strength of the proposed capital project. The school receives advice from the Consultant while conducting most of the work themselves.

The Feasibility Study is designed for schools that would like to do some of the data gathering on their own, including surveying constituents and conducting some or all of the interviews. ISM Consultants collate the data and prepare a report with the same outcomes as the Level One Study.

Customized support based on your needs • Advice on strategy, materials, staff, and more

For the school looking for customized and guided planning and counsel during a capital campaign.

This is a multi-level and flexible service, determined by the school. You may choose a range of services, from a monthly check-in to a detailed execution of the components of the campaign plan.

Specialized training and support for volunteers

For the school that wants to create strong volunteers to build strong campaigns. Receive specialized training and support for these critical members of the campaign team.

This consultation is designed to bring out the best in your volunteer corps and get them ready to work with your donors and prospects, all leading to campaign success.

Personal coaching • Problem solving

For Development Directors or School Heads who are looking for occasional coaching from a Consultant to help keep the campaign focused and on track.

Similar to Campaign Counsel but at a highly reduced support level, this service is customizable and features personal coaching, idea sharing, and problem solving.

 

 

Major Giving

For the school looking to create or reinvigorate their major gifts program. Discover how to identify, engage, evaluate, solicit, recognize, and steward the individuals who make a transformative difference to your school.

Foundational support for a successful major gifts program • Assessment, recommendations, and training

For the school that wishes to initiate or systematize their major gifts program. Establish a system of prospect management that identifies, engages, evaluates, solicits, recognizes, and stewards prospects who can make gifts that can transform your students’ experience.

Your major gift program supports donors and prospects whose capacity, inclination, and interests make them candidates to be transformative donors to your school. This consultation assists in establishing a systematic approach to the identification, engagement, evaluation, solicitation, recognition, and stewardship of your top prospects that lead to ongoing and reliable major giving to your school.

Identify top prospects • Data-driven approach 

For the school that wants to systematically identify your top prospects.

The Consultant advises your school on how to screen and rate your “top 50” prospects.

Create prospect management systems • Identify top donors • Create personalized action plans

For the school that wants to establish a data-rich approach to systematic prospect management and the creation of robust and useful donor profiles.

Managing prospects effectively is the foundation of a major gifts program. The ISM Consultant assists the school in creating systems for managing prospects, developing donor profiles and identifying the “top 50” prospects for whom plans should be developed.

Specialized training and support for volunteers

For the school that wants to create strong volunteers to build strong campaigns. Receive specialized training and support for these critical members of the major gifts campaign team.

This consultation is designed to bring out the best in your volunteer corps and get them ready to work with your donors and prospects, all leading to a robust major gifts program.

Major Donor Stewardship Plan creation • Training for staff and volunteers

For the school that wishes to create a manageable and accountable plan for stewarding their major donors.

A robust stewardship plan is key to retaining major donors. That’s why a carefully crafted and executed Major Donor Stewardship Plan is an important component of a successful major gifts program. This workshop takes staff and volunteers through the process of creating a successful plan.

 

 

Constituent Relations

For the school looking to build and cultivate strong, flourishing relationships with constituency-based organizations in the school community. These groups are critical to the success of all of the school’s educational, enrollment, and development goals.

Assess current association strategy • Recommendations for improvement • Present results to select leaders

For the school that wants a high-functioning parent association that not only supplies important volunteer support, but also promotes a positive parent culture, robust fundraising, and high student retention.

This consultation is designed to assess the operations of your parent association and make recommendations according to best practices. A closing workshop assists the parent association in understanding its role in the school and sets the groundwork for planning ahead.

Assess current association strategy • Create action plan for next three to five years

For the school looking to assist its parent association in setting and accomplishing their strategic objectives for the next three to five years.

Held in conjunction with the Parent Association Assessment, the action plan is designed by administrators and parent association officers to give strategic direction for the next three to five years.

Specialized, data-backed training for volunteers • Coaching for staff

For the school that wants to have strong volunteers who understand their roles and job descriptions, and are essential for effective parent programs.

This consultation is designed to bring out the best in your volunteer corps and get them ready to work with your parent association and in special events.

Assess current relationships • Conduct surveys • Receive recommendations

For the day or boarding school that wants to strengthen its relationships with alumni.

This consultation assesses the school’s current alumni programming, surveys alumni attitudes about your school, and makes recommendations during a workshop with the alumni board.

Assess current program strategy • Create action plan for next three to five years

For the school looking to assist its alumni group in setting and accomplishing their strategic objectives for the next three to five years.

Held in conjunction with the Alumni Program Assessment, the action plan is designed by administrators and the Alumni Board to give strategic direction for the next three to five years.

Evaluate current event effectiveness • Assess efficiencies and receive recommendations

For the school looking for a structure to schedule, evaluate, plan for, and execute effective special events.

Special events are deeply ingrained in the culture of private-independent schools. This consultation evaluates your events to assess the “why” they exist, their operational efficiency, and their effectiveness in enhancing the goals of your development programs.

 

 

Boards

For Boards that robustly embrace their philanthropic responsibilities and want to empower the school to realize its goals and dreams.

Leadership support and coaching

For Boards that wish to improve their understanding of and participation in their critical roles as leaders of the school’s philanthropic community.

This workshop is designed to coach your Board on its role in development and inspire members to be philanthropic leaders of your school community.

Goal alignment between the Board and Development Office • Action plan for the next one to three years

For Boards and development staff that want to align the school’s strategic goals with the planning and action of the school’s volunteer and professional development partnership.

This workshop is designed to create the action steps that will guide the Board, Development Committee, and development staff in implementing the relevant strategic priorities of your school. Constituency-based, the plan provides a roadmap for development priorities over the next one to three years.

Goal alignment between the Board, Development Office, Admission Office, and Marketing department • Action plan for the next one to three years

For Boards and advancement staff that want to align the school’s strategic goals with the planning and action of the school’s development, marketing and admission functions.

This workshop is designed to create the action steps that will guide the admission, marketing, and development teams in a coordinated approach to implementing the strategic advancement priorities of your school. Constituency-based, the plan provides a roadmap for advancement priorities over the next one to three years.

Personalized coaching for the Board Chair, Development Committee Chair, School Head, and Development Director

For the school that seeks coaching for its core development team—the Board Chair, Development Committee Chair, School Head, and Development Director—to create a superior professional-volunteer partnership.

This consultation focuses on the professional-volunteer partnership that leads the school’s development efforts: Board Chair, Development Committee Chair, School Head and Development Director. Individuals are coached in their respective roles and in setting the agendas for the meetings of the group.

Coaching and advising, based on your unique needs • Research-backed advice to improve your committee’s operations

For the school wishing to assist the Development Committee in providing important leadership for the school’s development efforts.

This consultation assists the school in establishing best practices for the committee and training members in fulfilling their role as development committee members.

 

 

Volunteers

Specialized training and support for volunteers

For the school that wants to create strong volunteers to build strong campaigns. Receive specialized training and support for these important partners in development success.

This consultation is designed to bring out the best in your volunteer corps. Ensure they are ready to work with your donors and prospects, leading to a robust development program with an active culture of philanthropy.

Let's start the conversation.

Email us today to schedule a time to talk.