Advancement Academy-2017

Rancho Bernardo Inn • San Diego, CA




Status: OPEN
Seats Left: 4
Certification Credits: 40 IACP

$3,974 Non-Member

Travel and accommodations not included

[$3,378.00 Gold Member]

Registration opens on Nov. 2nd. Call 302-656-4944 to reserve a space now.

In their words

Comments from some of the attendees of the 2016 Advancement Academy in Boston.

Advancement Academy

Rancho Bernardo Inn | San Diego, CA | July 24–28, 2017 | 40 IACP Credits

$3,974 regular/$3378 gold member
$2,933 each additional team member

For five days, immerse yourself and your team in an intense professional-growth experience, guided by expert practitioners, designed to send you back to campus with an integrated advancement plan ready for implementation. Coming as a team, you will coordinate an entire year’s strategy. If you’re a one-person shop, you will benefit from a network of professionals as you conceptualize a “team” approach to empower your school. As an individual attendee, you will strengthen your team orientation to amplify your advancement efforts.

The Academy is a must for experienced advancement administrators including School Heads, and Advancement professionals in Admissions, Development, Marketing Communications—people who:

  • Lead in their area and thrive in a strategic role
  • See patterns where others simply see complexity
  • Persistently seek best practices and industry-leading approaches to deliver measurable results


Use assessment tools to discover where you are along your path.

Uncover your strengths and hidden weaknesses by measuring yourself with the ISM assessment tools—advancement, admission, development, and marketing communications—so you can focus your time at the Academy on what needs to be addressed.

Set Goals

Map your week with your mentor.

With your assessment results, you’ll work with your mentor, either as an individual or as part of your team, to formulate how you can best utilize your time at the Academy. Together, you’ll choose courses that address “needs areas” identified in your assessment.


Present your action plan, gain valuable feedback, and finalize.

Now is the time to share your Academy accomplishments. Working alongside your mentor, you’ll prepare a presentation for your peers outlining your goals and plans for moving forward. This is a time for reflection and obtaining valuable, organized feedback.

Get Certified

You did it! Now, celebrate your accomplishment! All those who have completed the requirements for the International Advancement Certification Program (IACP) will be certified. Learn more at

Monday, July 24, 2017

10:00-2:00 Registration and Refreshments
2:00-3:15 Welcome and Opening Presentation

Mentor Groups (individual only) - assessments and reflection

6:00-7:00 Break

Mentor Group Social and Dinner (an opportunity for members of mentor groups to get to know each other; also an opportunity to meet people from around the globe)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:30-10:30 Data Analysis: Leadership and Annual Giving Circles Enrollment Management: Keeping the Students You Have Multigenerational Parent Prospects for Admission and Development

The Development Quartet: Board President, School Head, Development Committee Chair and Development Director The Advancement Cycle: Understanding the Interplay Creating a Marketing Plan for Your School
10:30-11:00 Reflection/Refreshment
11:00-12:15 Mentor Groups (Individual or Teams)
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:30 Can We Create Culture? Find Your Story for Your Annual Fund Website Collaboration for the Advancement Team

How to Use Data to Get Bigger Gifts The Strategic Advancement Plan Storyboarding Your School's Mission and Values



Mentor Groups (Individual or Teams)




Socializing, further individual / team thinking, reflection, networking

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:30-10:30 Essential Data, Research, and Analysis for Comprehensive Campaigns Using Data Effectively to Enhance Enrollment Inbound Marketing: Bringing Them In!

The 80/20 Rule - Annual Fund Leadership Converting the Reluctant Solicitor Developing Your Leadership Brand


11:00-12:15 Mentor Groups (Individuals Only)
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:30 Major Donor Engagement and Stewardship Creating a Strategic Enrollment Plan Customer Service: It's Our Business

Using Surveys to Improve Operations and Strengthen Constituent Relationships The Annual Advancement Calendar Tapping into Younger Alums
Time to absorb, reflect, enjoy, relax

Thursday, July 27, 2017

7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:30-10:30 Advancement Leadership: Building Bridges Soft, Flat, or Sliding Enrollment: Use Analytics to Reverse the Trend Crowdsourcing Communications

Develop Your Five-Year Endowment Plan to Reflect Your School's Core Values Embracing Cultural Differences Amongst Your Donors Leading the Advancement Team and Breaking Down Silos
10:30-11:00 Reflection / Refreshment
11:00-12:15 Mentor Groups (Individuals Only)
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:30 Families Across the Globe Establishing a Philanthropic Family Tradition Evaluating Your Print Marketing Materials for Prospective Families

Maximizing Results with a Small Staff Using Video to Tell Your Story The Sophisticated Donor
3:30-4:00 Reflection / Refreshment
4:00-5:15 Mentor Groups (Individuals or Teams)
5:15-6:15 Networking / Reception
Evening Socializing, further individual / team thinking, reflection, networking

Friday, July 28, 2017

7:00-8:00 Breakfast
8:00-9:30 Action Plan Presentations and Peer Reviews - a critical culminating activity that really helps encapsulate what you have learned and where you are going
9:45-10:30 Mentor Groups (Individuals Only)
10:45-11:30 Final Celebrations

Course Descriptions

The Advancement Cycle: Understanding the Interplay


  • Gain a theoretical framework for integrating the three areas of advancement
  • Learn to use the framework to ensure a consistent and coordinated experience for all constituents

This session will focus on new theory that combines the donor and enrollment management cycles into an integrated Advancement Cycle. The cycle offers an opportunity to consider the activities of both admissions and development through the same lens. This conceptual framework also overlaps with marketing communications by encouraging consistent experiences for your school’s constituents. Beyond the theory, participants will discuss specific opportunities for integration and begin to identify practices in their own schools that will benefit from an integrated approach.

Advancement Leadership: Building Bridges


  • Be able to listen empathically
  • Know the rules of healthy conflict and be able to practice them in your own school
  • Improve your ability to lead laterally, upwards, and downwards

Learn to build bridges and improve outcomes for your school! Healthy conflict, paradoxically, is a good indicator of strong relationships that predict those outcomes. Healthy conflict means that people are communicating openly and striving to improve, i.e. that they care. Leave this workshop ready to listen with power and engage productively.

Can We Create Culture?


  • Understand the attributes of culture and how it is formed
  • Be able to create a strategic framework that encourages a desired culture
  • Leave with resources to help you design a path for your organization that encourages the specific behaviors, mindsets, and emotions required for a desired culture

A common priority in schools is the development of a specific culture, whether that be a culture of philanthropy, community, tolerance, etc. This workshop will focus on what we can and cannot control in the development of a school culture. Participants will have an opportunity to simplify a complex concept to create an accessible framework. Additionally, we will examine how individuals interface with such a framework, informing the behaviors that define a culture. In developing a framework, you will be able to design a path for shifting a culture.

Converting the Reluctant Solicitor


  • Be better able to inspire, coach, and train volunteers and staff members to be dynamic fundraisers
  • Become more confident in your individual roles as front line gift officers
  • Be better able to maximize the capacity of your donor base

“I will do anything but ask for money!” How many times have we heard school leaders, both professional and volunteers, declare their aversion to fundraising. In this interactive workshop, learn how to convert your most reluctant supporters into champion solicitors. Discover proven techniques that will improve your and your volunteers’ ability “to ask.” Whether you have a reluctant Head or staff member, a trustee, or parent volunteer, we’ll help you develop strategies to put them at ease and build their capacity.

Creating a Marketing Plan for Your School


  • Understand what goes into a marketing plan
  • Identify your school’s marketing objectives
  • Leave with the tools for a mini-plan

Join us as we tackle the creation of a strategic and actionable marketing plan for your school. We’ll identify the main elements of a plan that make the case for incoming students and families. Learn to analyze cost and benefit, differentiate audience segmentation, identify strengths and weaknesses, and determine priorities. You’ll leave with an understanding of how strategic, message-based, and data-driven marketing plans deliver powerful results for admission enrollment.

Creating a Strategic Enrollment Plan


  • Learn to identify and articulate the key elements of a strategic enrollment plan
  • Build a framework for a new strategic enrollment plan at your school

Could the stakes be any higher for admission professionals? We are charged with both attracting and retaining mission-appropriate students and families, and schools are routinely relying on tuition revenue ideally serving as the key source of hard income coverage at our schools. A well-coordinated strategic enrollment plan can provide the roadmap for this critical work. Working with or without strategic financial and marketing plans, we must be able to understand, anticipate, and articulate the opportunities and challenges that exist for our institution, in addition to our market and competition. In this workshop, we will explore trends and best practices in research, marketing/branding, financial aid and tuition discounting, and more. Participants will leave with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to build the framework for a new strategic enrollment plan at their school.

Crowdsourcing Communications


  • Understand the concept of crowdsourcing communications
  • Learn how to bring authenticity to marketing collateral in a way that adds value
  • Develop a plan of action that enlarges your marketing communications bandwidth

Social media has transformed the discipline of marketing communications. Learn how “crowdsourcing” those communications in independent schools can add breadth, depth, and authenticity to both online and published materials, as well as produce compelling value-added messaging. We’ll show you how to crowdsource communications strategically from your target constituencies and how to develop a plan of action that enlarges your marketing communications bandwidth. There will be plenty of takeaways and ideas can be scaled for large and small schools alike.

Customer Service: It’s Our Business


  • Be able to identify the elements of an excellent culture of customer service
  • Have specific strategies to build a culture of customer service in all aspects of the school
  • Have an action plan specific to the needs at your school

Customer service must be part of a school's culture – it’s a way of doing things that is embraced by all employees of the school. The school's families have invested a significant amount in both money and trust in order to benefit their children. What does customer service look like and why is it so hard to achieve? Leave the workshop with concrete steps that you can take at your own school to develop, sustain, and strengthen your school's customer service with the intended outcome of better student retention and recruitment.

Developing Your Leadership Brand


  • Leave with a greater understanding of the characteristics of a leadership brand
  • Leave with a clear idea of your current and desired leadership brand
  • Be able to apply characteristics of your leadership brand to real-world dilemmas

This workshop will be particularly useful to participants who supervise one or more direct reports but will be applicable to anyone interested in developing their own leadership brand. Leaders have a responsibility to inspire, coach, and develop those working for and with them. The more success you experience in these three areas, the better the results you can expect from your co-workers. This course looks deeply at leadership as a mindset and allows you to explore specific characteristics that can be used to develop your own leadership brand moving forward. You will leave with an increased ability to motivate your colleagues to engage more deeply in their work, their team, and your school.

The Development Quartet: Board President, School Head, Development Committee Chair, and Development Director


  • Understand the relationship of the leadership team to the success of development efforts
  • Be able to parse and support the roles of each member of the leadership team
  • Be able to support the members of the leadership team strategically in order to create success for your team

Successful donor-centered development programs depend on many factors, not the least of which is a focused and well-coordinated leadership team that both understands the values of their donors and prospects, as well as the strategic needs of the school. The Development Quartet (consisting of the Board President, the Development Committee Chair, the School Head, and the Development Director) creates a climate within the school that puts the focus on matching the donor’s interests with institutional values and needs. This team is the backbone of your school’s development and fundraising efforts, providing direction, accountability, authority, and the technical know-how to successfully execute your donor-centered programs. You know your own quartet in your own school – apply our understanding of the Development Quartet within your own setting and enhance your plan with clear objectives and actions that will strengthen this team’s leadership.

The 80/20 Rule: Annual Fund Leadership


  • Be able to build a leadership giving funnel that impacts your annual and campaign giving
  • Be able to recruit volunteers and train solicitation teams
  • Be able to manage the leadership giving process

A minimum of 80% of your annual fund will come from 20% of your donors. Leadership giving is typically associated with campaigns and major gift programs. Learn how to build your leadership giving funnel to feed both your annual and campaign giving, and how to develop and train volunteers as solicitation teams. This session will focus on developing the leadership division of your annual fund, recruiting and training of leadership volunteers, and managing the process.

Embracing Cultural Differences Among Your Donors


  • Acknowledge and celebrate the differences among your donors and yourselves
  • Identify important cultural characteristics that influence giving

Our families and donors used to be fairly homogeneous. Now, our donors and prospects are increasingly individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, not to mention religious, philosophical, cultural, and ideological beliefs. Fundraising has to become more sophisticated to match this new reality. What are our assumptions about our donors and prospects? Let’s explore ways to encourage a diverse culture of giving within the changing population of our schools. Bring an understanding of your own family/donor demographic to this workshop, engage with your peers as to the challenges you face, and consider ways of thinking and acting that will bring all donors to invest in your school. Finally, put these new understandings to action in your plan going forward.

Enrollment Management: Keeping the Students You Have


  • Be able to identify the key players in re-recruitment
  • Be able to recognize and measure key factors considered by families when deciding to re-enroll
  • Be able to recommend enhancements to programs and initiatives that support this function
  • Possess a toolbox of re-recruitment strategies that you can bring back to your school

In this competitive educational landscape, schools must work diligently to not only attract mission appropriate students and families, but to retain them as well. Keeping students at your school requires a re-recruitment strategy that is both customer-centric and manageable from a staffing perspective. So, how do you build this type of culture and who are the key players? This workshop will enable you to evaluate your school’s current re-recruitment practices while developing new strategies that will assist you in keeping seats filled with similar faces, year after year.

Develop Your Five-Year Endowment Plan to Reflect Your School’s Core Values


  • Learn how to evaluate the role of endowment in a strategic financial plan at your school
  • Understand the necessary structure for managing your endowment
  • Leave with the tools to create a five-year plan to grow your endowment

In this workshop, we will examine the role endowment can play in protecting the financial security of your school's core values. If you have no endowment program at all or have one in its infancy, we will help you understand the dynamics of endowment fundamentals, and how to connect it to your school's core values and mission.. You will develop a five-year endowment master plan for your own schools, review endowment policies, and discuss how to establish and/or sustain an ongoing endowment fundraising program.

Essential Data, Research, and Analysis for Comprehensive Campaigns


  • Understand how a comprehensive campaign can expand your school's fundraising capacity
  • Be able to determine your development office's assets and liabilities when it comes to supporting a successful campaign
  • Understand what it takes to motivate professional and volunteer leaders to ensure success

If you find your annual fund is suffering because you are conducting a capital campaign, a comprehensive campaign may be the answer. While any size school can create a successful comprehensive campaign, doing so effectively requires a level of experience on the part of your development professionals and a laser focus on data and metrics. Using a case study as a guide, you will identify challenges, opportunities, and next steps for your own campaign readiness.

Establishing a Philanthropic Family Tradition


  • Be able to develop an effective family-centered philanthropy program
  • Have tools to establish a loyal culture of philanthropy amongst your constituents
  • Have a plan for beginning or enhancing your school’s family-centered development approaches

In endowment fundraising, a new trend is attending to the role of the whole family in sequential giving that includes planned gifts. Parents want to share their family values with their children, your students, and your graduates. Learn how to develop a family-centered program to encourage family philanthropy that will establish a loyal culture of students, alumni, and their parent donors in support of your mission. Leave this workshop understanding the dynamics at play and with key action items for you to use in your own program.

Evaluating Your Print Marketing Materials for Prospective Families


  • Learn the principles of effective print marketing materials and how to apply them
  • Understand ways to connect with both prospective parents and students
  • Leave with feedback on your own print materials.

Thinking about the end user should be the first act of a marketing professional. It is easy to get caught up in the process of design. But what does it mean to start with the end in mind—your prospective students and parents? In this workshop, you will engage in discussion about the principles of print marketing materials that connect with your target market. Then, applying these same principles, your peers will provide you with constructive feedback about your own print materials you bring with you.

Families Across the Globe


  • Be able to identify the critical aspects of building stronger relationships with international families
  • Have an action plan for engaging your international families

Your international families might be first generation US immigrants, ex-pats or living in another country which their child attends your school. How do they view philanthropy? Many schools now have students and parents from as far as China, Nigeria, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, and South Korea. Learn the elements of focusing on an international culture of giving that includes understanding culture, communication, and motivation. Leave the workshop with a skeleton action plan for your own international families and with optimism about engaging them in your school's philanthropy.

Find Your Story for Your Annual Fund


  • Understand that the annual fund case for support is more than a “gap”
  • View and identify branded annual fund materials that inspire giving
  • Learn to write an appeal letter that is simple and impactful

You want your annual fund case for giving to create a connection between your donors’ interests and values and those of your school, thereby inspiring them to give. You make that connection by telling a unique story, flowing from your mission and crafted with care. This hands-on brainstorming workshop you will begin the work of developing a compelling case for support. Then, working in pairs, you will draft an appeal letter that captures the “why” of giving for your school.

How to Use Data to Get Bigger Gifts


  • Be able to determine strategies for collecting and organizing essential information
  • Sharpen your interviewing skills to prepare for successful solicitations
  • Be able to create briefing documents that can be used with staff and key volunteers

Development programs thrive when you're able to turn the facts and figures about your constituents and their giving into actionable information. In this workshop, we will provide concrete examples of how data impacts identification, engagement, qualification, solicitation, recognition, and stewardship of prospects and donors. With the donor profiles as a guide, we will illustrate the significance of both quantitative and qualitative data and determine strategies for collecting and organizing essential information. With these tools, participants will be ready to create briefing documents that will increase the size of major gifts and improve your overall success.

Inbound Marketing: Bringing Them In!


  • Leave with an understanding about the differences between inbound and outbound marketing
  • Gain ideas you can implement to improve website traffic and inquiries
  • Be able to develop a long-term plan for a realistic, integrated approach to content-based inbound marketing

Standing out in the “virtual” crowd is becoming more and more difficult as consumers are overloaded with in-your-face marketing tactics and spam. How do you create content that not only attracts mission-appropriate families but also converts them into qualified leads? By reviewing your own school’s digital materials during this session, you will leave with ideas that you can implement immediately to improve website traffic and inquiries. In addition, you will develop a long-term plan for a realistic, integrated approach to content-based inbound marketing.

Leading the Advancement Team and Breaking Down Silos


  • Be able to identify the barriers that exist between individuals and departments at your school
  • Be able to use personality and communication profiles to improve team dynamics and performance
  • Have an action plan to break down silos and foster effective collaboration for a strong and unified advancement team

Admission, Marketing Communications, and Development typically operate in silos. How do you create and/or move your Advancement Team from good to great? Using the ISM Advancement Model as the foundation, we will explore how to implement and adapt this model in your individual school to create a highly effective and efficient advancement team. Breaking down silos creates opportunities for meaningful collaboration and powerful synergies. We will explore personality and communication profiles, how they impact team dynamics, and how to use them to get the most out of your team. Expect to be fully involved in the session, thinking about your own team, and applying it to enrich your plan

Major Donor Engagement and Stewardship


  • Discover why we need to focus on major donors
  • Learn how engagement and stewardship activities are key to your major donor program
  • Be able to create and manage the volunteer leadership team

The most important part of your major gifts program is how you engage and steward your donors. It is through regular and systematic stewardship that our major donors recognize the impact of their generosity. We will review the systems needed to properly steward donors, further their engagement in your school, and bring them closer to making another major investment in your mission. You will leave with individual engagement plans for your top donors and new creative engagement activities to implement.

Maximizing Results With a Small Staff


  • Understand the challenges associated with leading an overburdened staff
  • Define priorities for your department and your staff
  • Begin to achieve balance and avoid burnout

Most development, admission, or marketing offices have five or fewer staff including you. How do you manage an office when you have few or even no staff at all? How do you choose what to do and what not to do? Leading in an environment where there is so much to do and so few people to do it can nonetheless be a fulfilling and rewarding undertaking. Leave this workshop with a better understanding of your own challenges, the steps that you can take to define priorities, and the balance you have to have to be effective and not burnout.

Multigenerational Parent Prospects for Admission and Development


  • Be able to understand and connect with parents from all generations to boost giving and enrollment
  • Be able to develop a personalized marketing strategy that engages parents of different generations in ways that resonate with them
  • Have a plan to implement at your school to enhance your connection with parents

As private-independent school marketing professionals welcome the first waves of millennial parents into their multigenerational target audience, they find themselves in a marketing quandary. How do they continue to connect to the last waves of Baby Boomers while meeting the marketing and communications needs of the newest generation of private-independent school parents? Understand what motivates the enrollment and philanthropic decisions of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Learn how to segment your approach to boost your appeal to all three generations of parents by creating a multilayered marketing strategy. Bring your own school’s generational challenges and apply the learning to your plan going forward.

The Sophisticated Donor


  • Demystify estate planning for your major gift prospects
  • Help donors think creatively about their giving
  • Offer gift opportunities that are much larger than the donor might have imagined

As a sophisticated development professional, come to this workshop to extend your understanding of estate planning. You will learn the basics of these great opportunities provided by the tax code to incentivize major giving and planned giving. Then you will engage in several case studies showing how this knowledge can be applied. Lastly, you will take one of your own donors and create your own cultivation and solicitation strategy to take back and actually put into action.

Storyboarding Your School’s Mission and Values


  • Understand the need to tell stories throughout the admission cycle
  • Learn to recognize the opportunities to influence the decisions of prospective students and parents
  • Be able to tell stories that increase enrollment and re-enrollment
  • Leave with a compelling story about your school

Storytelling—the world’s oldest form of communication—is one of the most powerful tools for attracting new students. How well we share who we are as schools and convey value has a direct impact on influencing thinking and behavior, as well as the recruitment of mission-appropriate families. Leave with the skills to tell compelling stories that increase enrollment and re-enrollment. We’ll use individual and group work, and reflection, to take you through the beginning, middle, and end of storytelling for independent schools.

The Annual Advancement Calendar


  • Learn how to create your school's strategic advancement calendar with consideration for key stakeholders
  • Gain ideas/takeaways for major annual events/projects
  • Be able to think more proactively and productively about your and your colleagues’ time

Strategic scheduling and coordination of your admission, development, and marketing communications programs leads to happy constituents and overall success. We will map out key efforts within these three advancement sectors from July through June. How do key institutional stakeholders require our collaborative attention? What's the difference between strategy and tactics? How can you identify areas of overload to enable you to adjust for manageability given your resources? This interactive session will allow you to walk away with a guide for creating your school's strategic advancement calendar.

Soft, Flat or Sliding Enrollment: Use Analytics to Reverse the Trend


  • Learn how to use constituent survey, enrollment, and marketing data to discover what is really impacting your school’s enrollment numbers
  • Learn how an audacious focus on students and their experience goes to the very heart of your school’s value proposition

Is soft, flat, or declining enrollment keeping you up at night? Tired of speculating about what may be causing it? Learn how to pinpoint the cause with a a big picture view of the factors most impacting your hard income bottom line: your market position, your school culture, and the way you take care of your primary constituents—students and their families. In this workshop, you will walk through an analytical framework designed specifically for private-independent schools. Learn how to collect and use constituent surveys, enrollment, and marketing data to accurately assess your enrollment story—and to zero in on specific strategies to drive the enrollment outcomes you seek—whatever they may be. Bring your own constituent survey and enrollment data to use.

Strategic Planning for Advancement


  • See the connections between the school’s strategic plan and planning for advancement
  • Understand the fundamentals of creating an action plan for advancement
  • Begin creating a Strategic Advancement Plan for your school

Strategic Plan? Check. Financial Plan? Check. Advancement Plan? Wait –what?!?! How do admission, marketing communications, and development plan together? What does a strategic and comprehensive advancement plan look like? How would you implement it in real time in your own school? How does it connect to your school’s strategic plan and financial plan? This workshop will share two actual school plans. You will then take your own school’s plans and reimagine them. Going away, you will have far greater clarity and be prepared to further develop the plan you are creating.

Tapping into Younger Alums


  • Understand how social media can be used to engage your young alums
  • Have concrete ideas for engaging young alums to implement in your school
  • Have an action plan to take back with specific steps you can take to enhance your young alumni relations

It’s all about engagement, but how you’ve engaged alumni from the 50s and 60s is going to vary greatly from how you engage and steward your young alums from the 90s and 2000s. We will explore generational differences and look at how social media and other programs can help you tap into these young alums now. There will be opportunities to brainstorm and start to develop ideas that you can take back and implement in your own schools, many without major costs or other resources. It’s key that you bring your own data points to the workshop so that you can see how you can either begin or enhance the outreach you are currently doing

Using Data Effectively to Enhance Enrollment


  • Be able to identify the data that is essential to the recruitment and re-recruitments functions of admission
  • Be able to explain three key conclusions you have drawn from the interpretation of your own school’s data
  • Prepare a report, using your own school’s data, to share with the School Head and/or Board of Trustees in explaining the progress related to an enrollment goal

Data can be a powerful tool. The admission professional can use the right data to build relationships, tell stories, understand strengths and weaknesses, predict opportunities and threats, and much more. However, many individuals struggle to identify what data they need, where they can go to find it, and how to interpret the data once it is found. This workshop will highlight the key sources of data that admission professionals can use to both plan and execute the recruitment and re-recruitment functions at their school. In order to maximize your experience at this workshop, you will need to bring your own school’s data.

Using Video to Tell Your Story


  • Leave with a set of basic video production skills that you can take back to your school
  • Have increased confidence to enable you to produce videos at your school

Are you experienced in marketing but have not really had the confidence or trust in video use? In this workshop, you will leave with a key set of steps that you can pursue in order to actualize this influential storytelling tool at your school. We will learn techniques that EVERYONE can implement immediately. Low budget? No budget? No problem! With your new skills, you will use our smartphones and tablets to create your own mini-productions. This workshop is ideal for beginners with little or no knowledge of video production.

Website Collaboration for the Advancement Team


  • Leave with a “critical eye” for looking at school websites.
  • Learn the valuable questions to ask and the useful direction to give when talking to your website production team and website managers.
  • Become a more synergistic advancement team.

How do you know if your website team is doing a great job? How do you talk to the creative people that build your website? How do you know what to look for? Leave this workshop with a key set of criteria which will allow you to engage collaboratively when evaluating website design. If you are in admission or development this workshop will help you have meaningful conversations. If you are in marketing, you will find that hearing your colleagues’ questions and reactions will make you more empathetic, and better understand how they think.

Note: This workshop is not intended to make you a website expert.

Advancement Academy Faculty

One of the things that makes the ISM Advancement Academy unique is your chance to work with a seasoned private-independent advancement professional every day. You and your mentor will work to select the track(s) and workshops you will attend throughout the Academy. Together, you will develop an action plan to take back an implement at your school.

The Distinguished Advancement Academy Faculty and Mentors

Greg Abel Greg Abel, IAP-S
Director of Marketing and Communications
Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School
785 Beaver St.
Waltham, MA 02452
781-314-0800 main
Michael Christopher Michael Christopher, IAP-L
Assistant Headmaster for Development
Lausanne Collegiate School
1381 West Massey Road
Memphis, TN 38120
(901) 474-1013 main
(901) 474-1045 direct
Phil higginson Phil Higginson, IAP-L
Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement
Ravenscroft School
7409 Falls of Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 847-0900 main
(919) 847-0900 x2232 direct
Neil Isakson Neil Isakson, IAP-S
Director of External Communications
Worcester Academy
81 Providence St.
Worcester, MA 01604
(508) 754-5302 main
(508) 754-5302 x135 direct
Simon Jeynes Simon Jeynes, IAP-L
Senior Consultant and Academy Co-Convener
ISM, Inc.
1316 North Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19808
(302) 656-4944 main
Michael Larson Michael Larson, IAP-S
Content Strategist and Senior Facilitator
Blank Page, Austin, TX

Former Director of Advancement
The Fay School
Houston, TX 77023
713-681-8300 main

L.J. Mitchell L.J. Mitchell, IAP-L
Director of Advancement
Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School
272 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10014
(212) 477-5316 main
Penny Rogers Penny Rogers, IAP-L
Director of Admissions & Marketing
Academy at the Lakes
2331 Collier Parkway
Land O' Lakes, FL 34639
(813) 948–2133 main
Amy Riley Amy Riley, IAP-S
ISM Consultant
Academic Dean, International Advancement Certification Program (IACP)
ISM, Inc.
1316 North Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19808
(302) 656-4944 main
Steve Salvo Steve Salvo, IAP-S
Assistant Head for Advancement & Enrollment
Trinity Episcopal School
1315 Jackson Ave,
New Orleans, LA 70130
Paula Schwartz Paula Schwartz, EdD, IAP-L
Senior Consultant and Academy Co-Director
ISM, Inc.
1316 North Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19808
(302) 656-4944 main
(302) 656-4944 x139 direct
Herb Soles Herb Soles, IAP-L, CFRE
Assistant Headmaster for Development
Norfolk Academy
1585 Wesleyan Drive
Norfolk, VA 23502
(757) 461-6236 main
Gigi Cooke Tysinger Gigi Cooke Tysinger, IAP-S
Director of Advancement Services
Norfolk Academy
1585 Wesleyan Drive
Norfolk, VA 23502
(757) 461-6236 main
(757)-452-6765 direct

Thank you for joining us at the Advancement Academy! Advancement professionals including School Heads, Admission, Development, and Marketing officers attended 36 workshops, personalized mentor sessions, and forged valuable relationships. They returned to their schools with fresh ideas, perspectives, and action plans to implement.

Advancement Academy returns on July 24th through the 28th, 2017, in San Diego, CA.

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I think it's the best professional development dollars that you can spend. Coming to ISM Advancement Academy is about what you want to do institutionally for your school to move it forward — and gain the structure and systems to do that. You don't do that by going to a 20-minute or 40-minute question-and-answer conference about why my parent programs worked. Yes, it's long, it's hard, and, yes, you want to sleep, but I think it has the most profound impact on what we'll do for the year ahead and what we've already gotten to by this point.

Julia Alling, Director of Advancement
Fountain Valley School of Colorado, CO

Overall, it was the best conference experience I have had in my development career (of 10 years+). In particular, being able to work with my team to build a plan for the year, with the expertise of the Academy teachers, was extremely beneficial. We all feel very energized and excited about our work in the year ahead.

Theresa Winterbauer Martinez, Director of Development
The Girls' Middle School, Palo Alto, CA

It was a great opportunity for me to have time, resources and expertise to work on establishing our Advancement and Admissions Department.

Tina Bittendorfer, Admissions Officer
The Christian Academy, PA

Every member of our team did all the assessments. I help with admission and they help with communications but we realized there are a lot of gaps and assumptions that we made about one person's team and how they work. We realized what we need to fill in, how we need to become aligned to make an Advancement Department, but it also showed us how much we were like. I love that.

Erika Harriford-McLaren, Communications Manager
The International School of Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Advancement Academy was an astounding experience for me and for our team.

Claudia Fritz, Associate Director of Admissions
University School of Milwaukee, WI

The Academy registration fee includes:

  • Academy materials
  • Breakfast (Tuesday-Friday)
  • Lunch (Tuesday-Thursday)
  • Dinner (Monday night)
  • Refreshment breaks (Tuesday-Friday)
  • Social hours (Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Complimentary WI-FI access in the lodging room

Please let know in advance if you have any special dietary restrictions so that we can work with the executive chef to satisfy your needs.

Professional Credit

The Academy earns 40 credits towards your IACP certification.


The Rancho Bernardo Inn is an award-winning luxury resort just north of downtown San Diego. Rooms have custom furniture, upgraded linens, luxury baths, and private balconies or patios. You'll also find 42" flat-screen TVs and wireless internet. ISM guests receive complimentary wireless internet services. Also onsite is the San Diego Day Spa, a golf course, and several dining options when you are dining on your own during the Academy. You have the option of selecting the INNclusive package for an additional $19 per night. For details, visit: Rancho Bernardo Inn

What to Bring


The dress code is business casual.

Additional items to condider bringing

  • Laptop computer equipped for wireless for your learning sessions.
  • Personal care items
  • Rain gear and umbrella
  • Recreational equipment
  • Comfortable shoes or sneakers
  • Cool and casual clothing
  • Sweater or other warm clothing for sessions (air conditioning in the classrooms may be cool)
  • Extra pens, pencils, paper, business cards

Average Temperature

The average temperature in San Diego in July is a high of 76 and a low of 66. The area gets close to no rain in the summer months.

Getting There

The San Diego International Airport is about a 30-minute drive to the Rancho Bernardo Inn. For information about airlines serving the San Diego International Airport and available ground transportation, visit Renting a car gives you the greatest option to explore the area for dinners and your Wednesday afternoon/evening free time. Parking is $16 per night, plus tax, unless you select the INNclusive option for $19 per night plus tax (giving you free access to the fitness center, in-room coffee and tea, complimentary newspapers, shuttle service within five miles of the resort).

SuperShuttle is available at San Diego International Airport. Use ISM’s discount code SFUN2, and get the $25 fare each way. Book at

Registration is open from 10 am until 2:30 pm. The program started promptly at 2:30 pm.

Click here for driving directions.


Participants should recognize that the Academy requires full attention. Participants are expected to attend all keynotes, mentor groups, and workshops to received IACP credit and certificates. However, the resort provide plenty of things to do if you wish to bring your spouse, partner, or family. Only participants may attend ISM-sponsored meals.

Things To Do In San Diego

Looking for things to do in San Diego? Here's some handy information. Free Things to Do in San Diego. Or try some of the local "San Diegin's" suggestions regarding unique places to visit by clicking here.

Going Home

The Academy will adjourn at 11:30 am on Friday following the final celebration and certificate presentation. Note: Certificates only will be given to participants who attend all sessions including keynotes, mentor groups, and workshops.

For More Information

To find out more about ISM's Advancement Academy, call 302-656-4944 or E-mail:

Workshop Location
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive
San Diego, CA 92128

Group hotel reservation rate of $209 is available until June 25, 2017. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

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