The Two Things You Must Do Before Summer Vacation

by Barbara Barron | Posted June 8th, 2022 | Subscribe to this newsletter It’s early June. If you are reading this even several days after I published it, thank you! I know how insanely packed early June is for anyone in a school. Final projects. Awards ceremonies. The last push for participation in the Annual Fund. Alumni gatherings. And the …

Welcome to the Nirvana School

by Barbara Barron | Posted May 25th, 2022 | Subscribe to this newsletter I am an advancement consultant. I work exclusively with independent schools on all matters regarding and pertaining to advancement. And yet I work with very few “Directors of Advancement”. How is that? Am I out of step (or ahead of the curve)? In our little world of …

The Best Question You Can Ever Ask a Donor

by Barbara Barron | Posted April 27th, 2022 | Subscribe to this newsletter Recently, I wrote about the feasibility study I was conducting. I wrote about how, as I am speaking with, and listening to, my client’s supporters, I am hearing vital information that they might not be sharing with my client. Stuff that really, truly should be, and would be, …

The Power of the Feasibility Study

by Barbara Barron | Posted April 13th, 2022 | Subscribe to this newsletter I am currently hip-deep in a feasibility study for a client. This means I’ve been having 45–60-minute conversations for the last several weeks with the organization’s donors, board members, and other stakeholders. And while the questions are fairly standard for a project like this, I’m seeing how …

How Can We Help Boards Overcome Campaign Jitters?

It’s really understandable that non-profit Boards – in particular those at independent schools – may be downright scared of entering into a capital campaign. It’s a pretty high-stakes game, one that gets increasingly public as it rolls out. Any cracks in the system are going to be exposed. Staff issues, poor record keeping, fiefdoms between departments, competing priorities. All will …

What is the Real Cost of Turnover in Our School’s Development Office?

Ever find yourself hearing three or four interconnected thoughts in the same few minutes? Or days? For me, that’s when I know something is afoot. It signals that I need to slow down, think deeply, and then write about that confluence. Here it is. Thing one is that I have recently learned of two very seasoned and successful directors of …

What Have We Learned During Covid That’s Worth Keeping?

February 2nd, 2022 by Barbara Barron It’s February 2022. A new year. But if you’re feeling like me, it feels more like the same old, same old. A client moved their Board retreat at which I offered training to remote. We were ALL looking forward to being in the trustee’s living room for that experience. Their county went back to …

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 …

Ending Our Engagement

November 16th, 2021 by Barbara Barron As I progress as an advancement consultant, I am becoming more familiar with engagements that end. Or need to. Most are because the project for which I’ve been retained has happily and successfully concluded. The goals were met and the organization is better for the work. The school has expanded its capacity to do …

The Final Three Things All Great Schools Do In Advancement

October 20th, 2021 by Barbara Barron Before you read any further, I recommend you first take a look at the two articles that preceded this piece: “The Four Things All Great Schools Do in Advancement” and “Three More Things All Great Schools Do in Advancement.” All three of these articles have come out of my experience and first-hand witness over …