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    By Drew Fox Jordan • January 25, 2021

    6 Sessions We Are Looking Forward To At This Year's CASE-NAIS

    Gravyty is excited to be at CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference this year. We are looking forward to hearing about what independent schools are doing to develop successful advancement programs in hopes that you will bring home a host of actionable ideas and implement what you have learned at the conference and empower change at your institution.

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    There are lots of exciting sessions we are looking forward to, but a couple stood out to us. Here are the 6 sessions we are most looking forward to this year at CASE-NAIS:

    Getting Strategic about Advancement Goals - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 at 2:15 pm ET

    Over the course of the last decade, Hillbrook School increased annual giving by more than 63%, increased parent participation to 98%, and increased enrollment by more than 23%. This extraordinary growth was fostered by the concurrent leadership of Tesha McCord Poe, Joe Connolly, and Cathy Carlson who each had a hand in establishing a collaborative environment, creating strategic plans for enrollment management, development, and marketing, and implementing those plans to achieve success.

    This session will highlight how Tesha, Joe, and Cathy built a collaborative team, and continuously implemented initiatives and action plans that were rooted in the overarching strategy of the advancement, enrollment management, and marketing teams. They will share the strategic frameworks and tools that worked well at Hillbrook and guide audience members to extend and strengthen their own strategic efforts to achieve advancement goals in their schools.

    Creating a School-Wide Culture of Alumni Engagement - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 at 3:15 pm ET
    As alumni relations professionals, we strive to be relevant to constituents at every stage of their lives. What about our “alumni-to-be” and those who influence their lives, otherwise known as students, parents and faculty? Join Latin School of Chicago’s Team Alumni to learn how they establish trust, inspire future engagement and demonstrate the value added of a strong alumni network. Leave this session with concrete, scalable ideas for growing the best concept of “alumni” in the hearts and minds of students, parents and faculty, while also engaging current alumni in the life of your school in unique and meaningful ways.

    7 Keys To Fund-Raising Success - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021 at 1:30 pm ET
    Loosely based on the seven cardinal virtues, this session will magnify your exploration of fund-raising and provide new tools for your success. The 7 Keys to Fund-Raising Success blends new-age thinking with great wisdom from historically thought-provoking leaders, such as Lao Tzu and Abraham Lincoln. Philanthropy has a special meaning to those involved. It is a great joy to work with our donors and benefactors, who strengthen our communities. This session will awaken a refreshing way of thinking about your donors, how you can connect with them to build shared visions, and then unify those dreams into realities.

    Changing the Giving Culture: Growing Leadership Gifts and Building a Foundation - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021 at 1:30 pm ET
    This workshop aims to come up with innovative and nimble ideas to rework a parent culture, inspire generosity, and build a sustainable structure from which to motivate and inspire donors between campaigns. An entirely new Advancement team arrived as parents making final pledge payments from the last campaign. Donors suffered from fatigue and mistrust. What to do when a GIFT is the newest four-lettered-word, seemingly counter to a school’s culture? We’ve all worked with successful volunteers in the past, but what happens when the team begins with few allies? How do you move forward in a culture and climate of “no”? Learn a model that brings parent volunteers on as insiders and partners.

    Advancement Services - the Force Behind Fundraising - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021 at 3:15 pm ET
    Are we capitalizing on all the data that we have access to? Do we allow data to drive our donor relations strategy? Are your frontline fundraisers spending too much time behind a computer? This session is designed to be provocative, to stretch our thinking about the role advancement services should play in driving action within our offices, and the critical role they play in compliance and reporting. We will examine a new staffing model to better support frontline fundraisers through prospect research, data analytics moves management, and reporting.

    When Reality Strikes: A Dynamic Approach to Fundraising Leadership - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021 at 3:15 pm ET
    President Eisenhower once said that “plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Indeed, nothing in today’s independent school goes precisely to plan, especially fundraising. Surprises big and small call for course corrections to match, yet schools often feel bound by already established strategic plans or campaign studies. This can result in leaders being afraid to pivot, course-correct when circumstances dictate or demonstrate what UVA Professor Jeanne Liedtka calls “intelligent opportunism.” In this session, an experienced head of school will describe how he has effectively navigated complex situations with dynamic strategies and innovative tactics. He will offer counsel on how to lead through surprises, not around them, as well as prepare your school to demonstrate its best intelligent opportunism by capitalizing on disruptions and opportunities that result from change. By rethinking the standard strategic plan and crafting your messaging carefully, you will learn how to convert an unexpected left turn into a successful journey for the donor and for your advancement leadership.

    Any other sessions sound interesting to you? Make sure you connect with us here during the conference to let us know what you're taking away from this year's speakers.

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