How to Design a Major Gifts Program That Works

A good major gift program is well designed. It has a short list of needed projects that, generally, have the winning appeal of being tangible, immediate, and high impact. This is the magical trifecta in fundraising!

What Makes a Great Case for Support?

The “great case” is the road map to show a donor what the project is, what good it will do for the school, and how the school and its leaders plan to pay for it. It need not be all that fancy or costly. In fact, most donors I have had the honor of sitting with would prefer we tell it to them clearly, without a lot of distracting glitz. And they most assuredly don’t want us to spend a fortune printing the blessed thing.

How Can We Earn the Opportunity to Make That Big Ask?

Anyone who has read a single article of mine knows that we must start with intentionality. And after intentionality, planning. And then, the benefit of practice. Think of your closest friends. How did you get to know and build trust with them? I suspect that it happened over time, by talking about the things that really matter. From sharing what is most important to you. What you deeply value. Why would it be all that different with a family you are entrusted to engage in your community? Someone from whom you are asking for their support?

Major Gifting with Elizabeth Carter

December 1st, 2021 by Barbara Barron Barbara here. A smidge of context for this unconventional “interview style” article. Elizabeth Carter is a former colleague of mine from our time together at a school several years ago. She currently works as a major gift officer at a hospital in the Northeast. We’ve stayed in touch and she recently let me know …

Ignoring “The Gap” and Moving Away from a Scarcity Mindset

February 24th, 2021 by Barbara Barron I get why “The Gap” was created. Back in the day, it made a certain amount of sense for independent schools who were charging tuition but still needed additional non-tuition revenue to mount annual giving campaigns to make their operating budgets work. No doubt they were finding it incredibly challenging to explain to parents …

How to Quickly Create a Legacy Program at Your Independent School

by Barbara Barron | Posted October 28th, 2020 What if I could show you how to quickly create a legacy program? Or, if you already have an existing legacy society, how to sharply increase the number of members? What if I could demonstrate that – in growing your planned giving group using this technique – you will also secure additional …

How Do the Recent Tax Changes Impact Giving?

by Barbara Barron | Posted September 30th, 2020 In the world of advancement, there are plenty of truisms and myths. Some are accurate — “People give because they are asked.” Or, said in the converse, “If you don’t ask, you won’t receive a gift.” Some are wrong — “People give because they are looking for a tax deduction.” Nope. Not …

How Can You Know if Your School is Prepared for a Capital Campaign?

by Barbara Barron | Posted January 7th, 2020 There is a very good reason that schools and other organizations only endeavor to launch a capital campaign every five to ten years. Capital campaigns are big and hard and scary. While they have the power and potential to transform an organization and its program, helping to better deliver on the promise …

How Can We Make Our School’s Annual Auction More Successful?

by Barbara Barron | Posted December 12th, 2018 I am going to start by admitting to a bias that won’t shock you, if you’ve read my post about phon-a-thons. I, Barbara Barron, am not a huge fan of annual school galas and auctions. There. I said it! I imagine you’re reading this because you feel similarly. Perhaps you’re the sole …

How Do I Get Rid of My School’s Phonathon and Raise More Money?

by Barbara Barron | Posted November 7th, 2018 I’m not sure what’s in the water, but twice in the past month, I’ve found myself in conversations with clients about a fundraising practice I thought had ended decades ago: phonathons. Phonathons? Really?! For those who missed this classic 1980’s practice, a phonathon is a fundraising event in which a handful of volunteers …