by Barbara Barron | Posted November 2nd, 2022 | Subscribe to this newsletter
Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking to a group of women at The Town & Country Club of San Francisco. It was the first time I had delivered a talk to a group of people in person who were not an assembled Board of Trustees, which I do regularly, and even lately, in person.
It was delightful.
The venue was the venerable and beautiful private club on Union Square. The Club was established before the 1906 earthquake that devastated the city. It is a social and educational hub for professional women in the Bay Area. I was their monthly luncheon speaker for twenty-five women who attended because they care about and work or volunteer at independent schools. So, my people.
Here’s a photo of the flier at each woman’s plate:
The Talking Points
The moment I took the podium, I had to confess that the title of the talk (not one I had provided), was a claim I simply could not fulfill. Frankly, there’s just no “fixing fundraising” in 30 minutes plus Q&A!
But I did debunk some myths about “effective” fundraising and replaced them with strategies that I have found to be far better. Loyal readers here will know my take on many or most of these:
- Eliminate the expensive and time-suck gala with events and activities that have a higher return-on-investment
- Stop harping on participation and instead focus on growing leadership giving
- Avoid selling the gap since it only depresses generosity
- Quit sending generic appeals; create customized communication that speaks to what we know our donors care about
- Commit to abandoning lackluster stewardship and replace it with “surprise & delight” moments
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One of the joys of my work is hearing that something I said or suggested made an impact. We all love that, right? Over the next few days, I received several messages like that. Two were lovely handwritten notes (someone was listening!). More than one person told me they brought one of the strategies I discussed to their next development committee meeting and they decided to make a change, on the spot.
Wow. Talk about gratifying. This means a ripple was started. More effective work being done to bring passionate, committed donors closer to making the dreams of fine institutions they love come true. I’d call that a great day’s work.
If your organization could use some inspiration (and a few laughs), do be in touch.
[email protected] // @BBAdvancement
About the Author
My name is Barbara Barron, and I’m writing this blog to share advice on a profession that I adore.
I’ve been working in the field of Independent School Advancement for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of creating and implementing successful fundraising plans and programs for so many incredible schools. I’ve had the privilege of seeing real growth at The Carey School, Marin Primary & Middle School, Woodside Priory, Crystal Springs, Presidio Knolls, Sage Ridge, and San Diego French American, and others. (Maybe we’ve met!)
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a struggling school start to thrive. My hope is that you’re here to make a positive change as well. I hope my advice can be a part of that change.
Shoot me an e-mail if you want to swap tips, or share your voice here.
Let’s do this, together.
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