Hitting Your Development Goals
Do you have a development program for your school?
Development encompasses all the activities of your school which share your vision and mission, build relationships, and invite others to support your school with their gifts of time, talents, and finances. While some schools have complete development programs, others have only bits and pieces, and some flounder because they have no focus or goals.
Zig Ziglar, the motivational speaker, says “If you don’t have a goal, you’re sure to hit it.”
Since it is ultimately the board’s responsibility to ensure that development activities not only occur, but are actually effective in recruiting students and gift support, here are three questions a board can ask if it is unsure that it has a development program.
1. Do we have a development plan?
A development plan is a written document that lists all the development activities and development goals that the school undertakes annually. It includes the areas of recruitment and retention, fundraising and estate giving, public relations, church relations, alumni relations, marketing, communications, and data retention. The plan has stated measurable goals for all the programs and activities that are undertaken each year.
2. Is someone in charge of our development program?
That is, is there one person in your school community who has the responsibility of creating the annual plan and seeing that it is implemented? It could be a staff member, a board member or a committee chair. Whoever it is needs to realize that this is as important an obligation as that of the person responsible for the annual budget and its implementation. The person responsible for the plan needs to be given the tools, finances and people (staff or volunteers) necessary to fully carry out the plan.
3. Does the board fully support the plan?
That is, does the board review the annual plan and, by motion at a board meeting, endorse the plan? Does each board member support the plan with their annual donation, their attendance at activities, and their sharing of the vision and mission? Does the board review and analyze the results of the program each year to determine whether or not additional resources need to be invested in the next year’s plan?
This is a good time of the year for boards to ask these three questions. If you can’t answer yes to each question or you are unsure of your answers, now is the time to have your development program audited so that you can take the necessary steps before next year to insure you have a plan that is producing results for your school.
Remember, if you don’t have a goal, you’re sure to hit it.
by Gerry Ebbers, Consultant for Stewardship and Development