3 Capital Campaign Fundraising Tips to Start the Year Off Right from CASE-NAIS 2015

February 2, 2015 Peter Baron

It’s not often you get to be surrounded by 1300 of the very best fundraising professionals in the independent school business. The CASE-NAIS conference affords that opportunity at the start of each new year — I know it’s an event that I look forward to each year.

The 2015 meeting wrapped up last week in New Orleans, LA, and thanks to Walter Isaacson’s keynote, I walked away thinking a lot about “innovation.”

How do some of the brightest and most thoughtful ideas bloom from a simple idea to a truly innovative result?  By framing his talk through the eyes of some of the famous subject he’s studied (Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, & Steve Jobs to name a few), certain shared themes became pretty clear. One in particular, though, really resonated with me — the idea that “innovation happens through collaboration.”

It’s true in so many ways. For conference goers alone, they’re at CASE-NAIS to learn, share and develop ideas with their colleagues that will benefit their schools.

It’s with this spirit of advancing & cultivating ideas, that we wanted to continue the learning beyond the three days in New Orleans via the Q&A interview below. So we asked a group of your peers a question about capital campaign funding. Our thanks to Denise McAdoo, Jim Hamilton and Paul Rudnick for sharing their recommendations.

Let us hear your capital campaign fundraising plan tip. Share a comment below!

Question: What fundamental tip would you suggest to help a school improve their approach to their capital campaign fundraising plan?

Denise McAdoo, The Derryfield School
Denise McAdoo, The Derryfield School

“Make sure that you have clean, clean data, and that your fundraising database is up-to-date with the most current information about your constituents. That’s the best thing you can do to prepare for your capital campaign.”

Denise McAdoo
Director of Advancement, The Derryfield School (Manchester, NH)

Jim Hamilton, Brooks School
Jim Hamilton, Brooks School

“For us, it is making sure that our campaign goals are in perfect alignment with our mission. That’s really important for us — everything starts with the mission. So as we gear up and get going, we’re making sure that any items we have in the campaign (whether it’s a road, a building, the endowment), that they’re all pointing towards better delivery of the mission.”

Jim Hamilton
Associate Head for External Affairs, Brooks School (North Andover, MA)

Paul Rudnick, University Prep
Paul Rudnick, University Prep

“Campaigns increase their level of success when the community is heavily involved and its members take ownership of it. In fact, we ARTIFICIALLY create this environment when we enter into a Campaign. I propose that schools should proactively look for REAL moments when a community has come together  . . . when more of its members have become engaged in the school. Take advantage of this opportunity and envision a campaign. Three REAL moments that come to mind are after a rebranding, immediately following a strategic planning process, or shortly after a new Head of School transition. These are times when your entire community is paying attention, new leaders have been identified, and cultivation steps are plenty. Keep that momentum alive and encourage your community to Dream Big!”

Paul Rudnick
Director of Development,  University Prep (Seattle, WA)

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