In short, the work of an advancement consultant is this: to strengthen the strategies, skills, capacity, and procedures of the advancement program and team so together we can further advance the mission of a school by finding and securing the resources needed to fulfill its promise.
In order to do this work, an advancement consultant must work hand in hand with the Head of School, Director of Development and Advancement Departments, Admission & Communication Departments, and key volunteers on the Board of Trustees and their Development Committees. All of this work aims to build and sustain leadership giving, and designing memorable experiences through thoughtful, delightful stewardship.
When an Independent School hires me as a consultant, the service I provide to them is always specific to that school.
The kinds of work I often am retained to help with include:
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your advancement program. My extensive appraisal recommendations include specific actions and steps to strengthen the giving program.
- Retool job descriptions and recommend systems based on best practices to create high functioning teams.
- Empower directors to instill and maintain individual and team growth
- Build leadership giving models that result in rapid growth and sustainable annual giving programs.
- Move away from participation-focused procedures and communication.
- Develop a compelling case for supporting the school every year.
- Develop an intentional program to identify and cultivate major donor prospects from the very beginning of their experience with the school.
- Coach your Governance Committee to develop a set of best practices for trustee recruitment and mentoring
- Provide strategic advice on all matters related to advancement on an ongoing basis and/or for your Board retreat.
- Develop and implement a feasibility study to test your project and knit you closer to your key supporters.
- Craft a Capital Campaign that works for your organization.
- Tackle campaigns that require out-of-the-box thinking.
Tests the viability of your potential campaign with your most loyal and generous donors.
Gives you the best insight possible into the campaign’s chances of success.
Helps you understand the project’s appeal, or where it needs adjusting.
- Mount a major gifts program to build greater financial stability that works alongside your robust Annual Fund.
- Create a stewardship program that lets your top donors feel the impact of their gifts to your school so they joyfully keep your school at the top of their philanthropic priority list.
- Inspire and teach your Board of Trustees to commit to building a Planned Giving program. See a significant growth in your number of legacy donors for future support.
- Develop an essential ongoing communication program that gently but consistently markets this vital giving program.
- Devise strategies for engaging key donors and trustees, troubleshooting tricky issues with team members, practicing for a big ask, or crafting a plan for growing your program.
- Can be a standing weekly call or an as-needed strategy session or pep talk.