Does It Matter What Your Meeting Space Looks Like?

by Barbara Barron | Posted February 28th, 2024 | Subscribe to this newsletter Here’s a true story of two solicitation meetings, where space may have played a key role in the outcomes. Tale #1: Many years ago, when I was a DoD, I was working hard to secure a significant gift from a wealthy and newly engaged family. The Head …

Top 10 Things Great Schools Do in Advancement

by Barbara Barron | Posted February 14th, 2024 | Subscribe to this newsletter There is no end to the lists of “best practices” we might create to guide our work in independent school advancement. My view is that real advancement lives both inside and outside the development office door. I take a broader view, including lots of people. Here’s my …

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 …

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. …

How to Use Permanent Life Insurance to Help A Donor Make Their Largest Gift –Ever

January 27th, 2021 by Barbara Barron What if you had the chance to secure a significant, maybe even transformational gift from a donor at an amount far beyond what they give annually? One that rivals their largest gift ever or even…their cumulative giving?  Interested? But what if you knew from the outset that the pledge would not be fulfilled for …

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 …