Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

Prioritize Your Donors!

During the summer months I often remember my days as development director at a boarding and day school. 

Like many development offices at small or mid-size schools, I was a one-person show. July and August was the time of year I was deep into making plans for the annual fund. Enlisting class captains and volunteers.  Setting up training sessions. Writing a case statement that would inspire donors. Calendaring the appeals and the stewardship events.

But knowing the 80/20 rule—that I’d get 80% of our annual fund revenue from 20% of my school’s donor base—left me with a huge question: Who comprises the 20% I should focus on? At the time I didn’t have the staff or software for wealth screening or prospect research to do the job.  I had to depend solely on the car they drove, the house they lived in, their occupation, how well they dressed, rumors about their recent European vacation—but these were just educated guesses, and often misleading.  I needed a more reliable way to prioritize where to put my energy to get the most return. 

I commiserate with development and advancement officers today who may not have the budget to afford the best tools for identifying top donors, or the staffing that bigger independent schools enjoy.

That’s why Connor Associates is stepping up.

We’ve partnered with a major donor screening and prospect research firm that lets us search, screen, analyze, and model new or existing prospects at your School: not only those who are currently on your donor rolls, but to screen potential families for their ability to donate, and how much they are capable of donating over a five-year period.  What better way to encourage development and admission to work together to enroll those families who can support tuition assistance programs that can help drive socio-economic diversity? It's a win-win-win: for admission, development, and for those families who can improve the composition of your enrollment but need greater affordability options.

We can analyze your spreadsheets of new and current families, alumni, friends of the school, inquirers, and other constituents -- and return to you a prioritized list of who to focus on based on information we comb from literally hundreds of databases.

We can help you increase major gifts, customize your appeals to your donors’ interests, and set realistic and viable goals and appeals. We’ve done 20 years of consulting work  to improve enrollment management, retention, and communications. Now we're here to support your fundraising goals.

If you’re like I was, in a small or mid-size development or advancement office without the staffing or budget to do more than take educated guesses, give us a call. We'll discuss your specific needs and offer solutions.

We hear you. Connor Associates can help you do your job better. Your Head and Board will thank you!

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