Photo by Chaz Cruz
What Does an Advancement Consultant Do?

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:

Advancement Appraisals
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your advancement program. My extensive appraisal recommendations include specific actions and steps to strengthen the giving program.
Interested in an advancement appraisal at your school? Read more about them here.
Advancement Team Mentoring
  • 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

Annual Giving

  • 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.
At Drew, I increased Annual Giving by 86% over six years and increased leadership giving by 81%. Click to see how...
At Sonoma County Day School, our strategies resulted in the 2021-22 Annual Fund reaching 142% of goal -- the largest in their 40-year history.
Board of Trustees
  • 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.
Capital Campaigns
  • 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.
Interested in creating a capital campaign at your school? Read more about them here.
Feasibility Studies
  • 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. 

Interested in creating a feasibility study at your school? Here is a primer on how they work.
Major Gifts Programs
  • 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.
Planned Giving
  • 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.
Ongoing Coaching
  • 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.
Coaching might just be what your school needs! This page has a list of schools that have benefitted from my coaching.
Intrigued? You can learn more about the wonderful work we do by doing a deep dive into my advancement articles. Or e-mail me with questions!