How We Can Get Rid of That Terrible Thank You Letter

Recently, I completed an advancement appraisal for a great little school. They are doing most things really well. And it shows – school spirit is high, they have terrific parent engagement, everyone gives, and their fundraising numbers are up. They’re in a good place. Still, I believe the Head was wise to request that I take a closer look…

Giving Circles Taken to the Next Level

February 11th, 2021 by Barbara Barron Nearly every school I know has the tradition of setting “giving levels” for their Annual Fund and other fundraising projects.  Most are pretty pro-forma, in my view. Generally, the top level is called something like Platinum or Gold — and the tiers work their way down from Silver and Bronze to the merely participatory. …

What Are the Dangers of Having an Angel Donor?

by Barbara Barron | Posted on February 12th, 2020 Are there downsides to having a donor (or two or three) who effectively secures our entire Annual Fund campaign each year? Or who provides most of our capital campaign (or major gifts program) giving?  Does posing this question make me sound insane? I mean, why would we not want to have …

What Should We Do When We Make a Donor Angry?

by Barbara Barron | Posted September 6th, 2019 Imagine what goes on in the mind of a donor when he decides to make a big gift to your school… Something got him amped up – maybe attending an event or reading about a recent accomplishment. Sometimes we know the moment that ignited this generous impulse because we ourselves created it. …

How Do We Create Word-of-Mouth Buzz With Our Donors?

by Barbara Barron | Posted May 8th, 2019 You’ve no doubt heard the story: the little boy who left his cherished stuffed giraffe Joshie behind at a Ritz Carleton hotel. The child is distraught, naturally. So the father defaults to his go-to tactic: he tells a white lie. He assures his son is that Joshie is fine and just decided …

How Do We Write a Welcome Letter to the New Parents at Our School?

by Barbara Barron | Posted August 8th, 2018 True story: someone dear to me recently enrolled her child in a beautiful, well-respected private school. She’s no slouch. She researched her options carefully. She visited the campus several times. She put her family through a rigorous admission process. And when it became time for her to finally drop him off for …

How Do We Prepare for the Biggest Ask of Our Career?

It amazes me how many times we crash and burn as solicitors, yet continue to just… wing it. Surely there’s a way to prepare? Of course there is. I can break it down into five easy pointers for you, in fact…

What Are Some Low-Cost High-Impact Gifts We Can Give Our Donors?

by Barbara Barron | Posted on November 8th, 2017 Let’s talk about healthy relationships. What are some of the qualities of a really healthy relationship? Think about the ones who enjoy with great friends, family members (well, some family members!), and maybe your colleagues or neighbors. What distinguishes them? It’s likely they feel safe and mutual. There is a commonality, respect, …

How Do We Write a Really Good Annual Fund Letter?

by Barbara Barron | Posted September 27th, 2017 Sure, it’s summer but before we know it, it’ll be that time of year! In development offices all over the country, your peers will be doing just what you’ll be doing: toiling over the Annual Fund Letter. The choices you have to make feel endless: what format will we use? Who is …