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 …

We Advancement People: Reflections from the CASE-NAIS 2024 Conference

by Barbara Barron | Posted January 31st, 2024 | Subscribe to this newsletter There’s something special about sitting in a room with 1,400 advancement professionals from around the country. That was the sell-out crowd gathering in Austin for the CASE-NAIS 2024 national conference.  And while this is not our first rodeo since COVID, it still felt unmistakably festive to be …

Better Metrics

by Barbara Barron | Posted January 10th, 2024 | Subscribe to this newsletter Last fall, I wrote an article about what I see as the misplaced emphasis on participation as both a focus of the advancement team’s work and a measure of the effectiveness of the giving program. I argued that the 100% goal is more likely a moon shot. …

Why Are Your Donors Not Participating?

by Barbara Barron | Posted December 6th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter Right now, I have a few school clients struggling with lower giving numbers compared to this time in previous years. Participation has been on a bit of a downward trend for the past couple of years — but this fall, it feels especially troubling. Schools who are …

What Good Are Trade Secrets If We Don’t Share Them?

by Barbara Barron | Posted November 8th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter Having a niche is both cool and challenging. Mine happens to be independent school advancement. I don’t work with other non-profits. Just schools. Very defined. But it is a small world. When I decided to begin a consulting practice almost 7 years ago, the answer to the …

Why Do We Need a Feasibility Study Before We Start Our Capital Campaign?

by Barbara Barron | Posted October 25th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter “Do we need a feasibility study before we start a capital campaign?” Understandable question.  Particularly coming from a small organization with limited resources. Here’s what I imagine is the conversation around the boardroom table: “Seriously!? We need to spend $40k+ for a consultant to test our project …

Is Technology a Crutch?

by Barbara Barron | Posted October 11th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter Recently I was working with a client school on the community appeal for their capital campaign. Like most appeals, this one was electronic, and it required the need for thoughtful customized segments. As I’ve often written, when we write a generic appeal, we’re speaking to no one …

Why Participation is Not Worth Fighting For

by Barbara Barron | Posted September 6th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter Years ago, my team and I set out to put the then-popular 80/20 rule into practice. I posed this challenge: since 80% of our support comes from 20% of our donors, should we not deploy 80% of our time, resources, energy, and love on that loyal, generous …

How Can We Set Priorities that Serve Us and Our Programs?

by Barbara Barron | Posted August 16th, 2023 | Subscribe to this newsletter A new school year. A new chance to get off on the right foot. If you’re like me, after a needed refresh over the summer, you’re ready to take it on again — but maybe with some new thinking. A new set of practices to keep us …