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    By Drew Fox Jordan • January 26, 2021

    Gravyty at CASE-NAIS: Our Favorite Sessions

    We know you can't attend every session, so for this year’s CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference, Gravyty is providing you with some recaps from sessions you couldn't make it to for you to get caught up.

    Gravyty at CASE-NAIS: Our Favorite Sessions

    Here are the sessions the Gravyty team has enjoyed so far:

    Reframing Diversity to Drive Inclusion and Equity

    An independent school teacher and administrator turned international diversity and inclusion strategist will start the DEI conversation. Before launching his consultancy, Dr. Derrick Gay taught and served as an administrator in independent schools. Now he works with schools, universities, and businesses across multiple industries to establish best practices in diversity and inclusion within a global context. 

    Who would have thought that the "Giving Tree" would still be giving! In Dr. Gay's keynote, we saw four different images of the giving tree illustrating a four step process on how to create equity. Given the right tools and a true commitment, we can get everyone on  he same playing field and be able to offer all students the same experiences.

    Advancement Services - the Force Behind Fundraising

    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.

    According to our own Linda Lull, Philip Higginson’s session was a home run! As an Advancement Services enthusiast passionate about the best way to drive fundraising strategy, she thought he made a lot of solid points. Starting with fundraiser goals and working backward, he was able to set expectations and push outcomes based on industry standards. The questions she for him: what's next? How can we make it even easier for fundraisers, how can we give them the ability to more? Is AI the solution?

    Creating a School-Wide Culture of Alumni Engagement

    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? We joined 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. 

    Latin School of Chicago’s alumni relation’s team is brilliant! The session offered so many creative ways to bring alumni and students together for not just a meet and greet, but to forge long lasting relationships. By introducing the definition of Alumni early into a student's education and backing it up with relevant projects, Latin School of Chicago puts meaning into the responsibilities of being a proud graduate of the school. If you have not had a chance to see this session ask for the recording!

    Looking Beyond: Planning for a Post-Pandemic School Landscape

    A part of an ongoing conversation at national conferences among key associations and their CEOs and Presidents, the next installment of this panel will focus on what comes next after the pandemic. Framed with advancement in mind, the focus was on the ways in which the leadership team at schools can come together, collaborate, and innovate in the wake of an international crisis. 

    When asked about the most difficult pain point for advancement professionals post-pandemic, Sue Cunningham, President and CEO of CASE, surmised that it would be the pressure & potential for increased philanthropic revenue. Schools will need to manage expectations. When drawing on history, we need to remember, that coming out of the last recession the schools that succeeded were those that had consistent leadership and those that had commitment to continue to invested in their advancement efforts.

    The Role of Questioning and Listening in the Major Gift Engagement Process

    Jonathan Bridge, borrowed a quote from Steven Covey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.” Jonathan stressed that individuals like to be heard, and by offering “Strategic Planning Interviews” to top prospects it gives the individual the opportunity to talk. Specifically Jonathan, finds many prospects like to confess their regrets from their time at the institution and this sparks a conversation that leads to the prospect’s strategic priorities.

    If you were not able to attend the session, get the recording, he offers some great examples of questions that lead to authentic engagement.

    AMAtlas: Enabling Data-Driven Strategies for Fundraising and Engagement

    It is fascinating to hear what CASE is doing to help fundraising shops make informed, strategic decisions. It is important to note that they cannot continue to provide such valuable resources without your help. Gravyty's own Linda Lull recommends participating in the Alumni Engagement Metrics (AEM) Survey. It will provide insight for future alumni engagement strategies and a comprehensive metric that points to a correlation between alumni engagement and their giving. And finally, it will allow you to bench mark your results with other schools for future reference.

    Have you attended any sessions you found interesting? Let us know which ones!

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