Your Annual Fund From A to Z

Chase Center on the Riverfront • Wilmington, DE




Certification Credits: 30 IACP

$3,414 Non-Member

Travel and accommodations not included

[$2,902.00 Gold Member]

Registration for workshop has closed

L.J. is fantastic — so very knowledgeable, helpful, and goes above and beyond to be of help...he's a rock star. I would recommend the workshop just based on him. The entire ISM team is great!

Kate Poss-Morency, Director of Development
The Wilson School, MO
Workshop participant 2017

This workshop earns 30 credits towards your IACP credit requirements

Building a steady, dependable culture of philanthropy at any private-independent school requires a strong, strategic foundation—your annual fund. That program is the beating heart at the center of other giving initiatives, driving relationships, enthusiasm, and dollars that enable your school to go above and beyond in delivering its mission to students.

Learn how to personalize and segment prospects, use your data to identify leadership division donors, and effectively communicate your school’s story and annual fund campaign to your community.

Topics Include:

  • Learning how your Board strategically serves your annual fund
  • Recruiting volunteer leadership to serve on your Annual Fund Cabinet
  • Finding your school’s story and reasons for support that inspire your constituents to give
  • Learning to personalize and segment donors and prospects
  • Using your own data to identify your leadership division of donors
  • Marketing and communicating your school’s story and annual fund campaign
  • Developing a strategic annual fund calendar
  • Developing your own action plan and prioritizing next steps
  • Enhancing peer-to-peer and group problem-solving, conversations, and networking
  • Meeting one-on-one with the workshop instructor

Who Should Attend:

New or experienced Development Directors and development staff, as well as annual fund managers should attend.

This is Patrick's story

Patrick Carlove, Chief Advancement Officer at Prince of Peace Christian School in Texas attended our “Your Annual Fund from A-Z” workshop in 2016. Hear his full experience below.

"In the Spring of 2016, our school hired ISM to assist in reviewing our school’s fundraising program. After going through the process of strategic planning with a fabulous ISM consultant it became clear to me that our school needed to streamline our overall advancement strategies.

The school had too many independent fundraisers spread among the school, individual classes, sports teams and fine arts groups. It was confusing and overwhelming for our parents and supporters. The consultant suggested that I attend the “Your Annual Fund From A-Z” [workshop at the Summer Institute] hosted by ISM to better understand the importance of a quality annual fund."

We caught up with Patrick right after he finished the workshop at Summer Institute 2016. He shared a bit about what he learned with our camera crew.

Once back at his school, Patrick put what he learned at Summer Institute into action. Here are his results at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

"The results have been amazing! Our annual fund had averaged approximately $225,000 per year over the last five years and this year we surpassed $800,000 by using the new techniques taught by instructors and developed during collaboration with other ISM conference attendees.

We contribute the success to a few key factors.

  • We consolidated all giving towards a list of annual fund projects that was publicized on campus as well as in mailings from affinity group families. Our office created the main body of the letters and each family wrote an introductory paragraph. This process helped us promote the new culture of consolidated fundraising and come together as a community to accomplish common goals and celebrate success.
  • The [workshop] also taught us how to determine leadership level giving and use it to increase current support by raising their annual pledge. In addition we used five major donor gifts totaling $100,000 to create a matching gift program for each new leadership level gift.
  • The digi media class on campus created a video focusing on the mission of the school as an intro to our special appeal for annual fund at our annual school auction. We also had a $10,000 gift lined up to start the bidding that night for the annual fund. These additions gave giving to the fund a more personal feel and pushed our audience to increase the average giving at that event from $50,000 to over $90,000.
  • The final piece that created quite a buzz in our community was the first ever printers proof. We sent out a document that listed the current giving levels of all our support as of the first week of April. This allowed people to review the document for typos, check their current support level, increase giving to the level they wanted or to make a gift if they had not made a gift to the school yet.

I can’t thank ISM enough for the opportunity to learn such a great process. The instruction and collaboration provided was critical to our success. Our school was able to take the material and follow the samples and calendar provided and begin to create and solidify a culture of giving on campus."

Patrick Carlove, Chief Advancement Officer
Prince of Peace Christian School, TX

staff photo 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
  • Leads one-day workshops on Find Your Story: What it Takes to Boost Your Annual Giving
  • 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.

• Continental breakfast is available starting at 7:15 am on Day 2

Day 1

2:30-3:30 Registration

3:30-5:00 Session One

5:00-5:30 General Session

5:30-6:00 Reception with ISM

6:00 Dinner with ISM

Day 2

8:30–10:15 Session Two

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Three

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Four

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Five

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM

Day 3

8:30–10:15 Session Six

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Seven

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Eight

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Nine

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM

Day 4

8:30-10:15 Session Ten

10:15-10:30 Break

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

Workshop Location
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Hotel Location
Westin Wilmington
818 Justison St.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Group hotel reservation rate of $169 is available until June 16, 2018. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

Once you have registered for a workshop, please make your hotel reservation by clicking the RESERVE YOUR ROOM link above or by calling 302-654-2900 and letting them know you are with ISM. Follow the hotel link on your workshop page for room rates and reservations.

The riverfront has a lot to offer you to occupy your downtime after an intense day of professional development training. Follow the river walk for restaurants, the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge and the DuPont Environmental Education Center, the Delaware Children's Museum, and Stratosphere Trampoline Park, to name a few.

Take in a movie at the new Penn River Cinema, with not only comfortable stadium seating but also an IMAX theatre. At various times during Summer Institute, the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks will take to the diamond at the next-door Frawley Stadium. For Planet Fitness members, there is a large facility across from the Westin.

The outstanding River Rock Kitchen is right inside the Westin, but you are also walking distance to the first-class Iron Hill Brewery, Delaware's Big Fish Grill, Timothy's on the Riverfront, Joe's Crab Shack, and Firestone; Udon Thai Cuisine and Del Pez for Mexican; Molly's Ice Cream (sandwiches too!), the Riverfront Market and Harry's Seafood Grill just a little further down the Riverwalk. If you need your fix, yes, there is a Starbucks too...and a Subway.

You can also hop one of the Dart First State Route 12 Riverfront buses ($2 cash) to go to LOMA, or Lower Market Street, for more excellent restaurants we well as the Queen Theatre.

Getting There

Please do not make any non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive an e-mail from ISM informing you the workshop is confirmed to run.

By plane and shuttle: Philadelphia International is the closest airport. A shared van shuttle to Wilmington —a 45–60 minute ride, depending on traffic and the number of riders—costs about $35 each way. Visit the del reservation page ( and select click on the Group Code button. Enter 207866 at the bottom in the GROUP ID box. You can reach Delaware Express at 800.648.5466.

You can also use UBER — rates will vary depending on time of day, etc. You can use the Fare Estimator on to determine the fair. Use UberX or UberPOOL for the lowest fares.

Flights to Baltimore (BWI) can be less expensive, but it is an 80-mile trip to Wilmington. A shuttle costs about $125 each way, or you can rent a car at the airport.

By train: There is an Amtrak station in downtown Wilmington, about a 5-minute drive from the Westin/Chase Center. You can request the hotel shuttle for transportation.

By car: Click here for directions from the Philadelphia Airport to the Westin Wilmington.

How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

It is essential that your school approves the following e-mail addresses from ISM:

You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation e-mail 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.

Does the hotel have a gym?

The Westin has a state-of-the-art fitness room and an exercise pool. Planet Fitness members can walk across the hotel parking lot to the expansive Riverfront Planet Fitness facility. The Riverwalk provides an excellent running and walking path as well.

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 Policy

We will correspond with you through e-mail as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its beginning. 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.)

Cancellation Policy

If circumstances change and you cannot attend the workshop, you must confirm your cancellation in writing via fax (302-656-0647) or email ( If you do so at least 10 business days prior to the start of the workshop, you can request a full refund of monies paid. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, we will refund you all but $600. If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, you will forfeit the entire workshop fee.

If you enroll using Consortium Credits, and cancel your attendance in writing at least 10 days prior to the start date of the workshop, all Credits will be returned to your school. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, if you cancel, all but two of the Credits will be returned to your school. (You have the option of buying back those two Credits for $600.)

If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, your school loses all the Consortium Credits used for payment.

Please note that non-payment of tuition does not constitute a cancellation. Failure to appear does not constitute a cancellation.

*We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Connect with ISM: