"In the Know" Weekly Newsletter - The International School

NWAIS Self- Study: Institutional Advancement

(including Development & Fundraising)

The TIS institutional advancement program provides funding for important resources and opportunities to help teachers and students operate at their best. Over the last several years, donations have provided professional development, new technology, learning resources, facilities improvements, guest speakers, field trips, collaborations with local music, art, and cultural groups, and much more. All of these resources and experiences directly enhance the “rigorous and comprehensive education in a nurturing, student-centered environment,” as directed by the school’s mission. The mission, together with the school’s strategic plan, informs all plans and activities for institutional advancement at TIS.

The TIS Development Office is relatively new, having relied exclusively on volunteers and the Marketing and Communications Director until 2010. The school’s first Development Director was hired at that time, followed by a Development Coordinator in 2013. The advancement team now manages and coordinates all of the planning, implementation and communication for fundraising events and campaigns, donor stewardship and recognition, the constituent database, gift tracking and reporting, and a nascent alumni relations program.

The TIS Head of School and Board of Trustees are integral to the institutional advancement program. Board members solicit donations, participate in developing campaign strategy, recognize and thank donors, and oversee fundraising efforts and goals to ensure that they are in line with the overall mission and vision of the school, budget and strategic plan. In addition, many parent volunteers play an integral role in fundraising campaigns and events. Under the guidance of the Development Office, volunteers plan and implement fundraising events, solicit donations, and help build a culture of philanthropy at TIS.

TIS conducts several fundraising campaigns and events during the school year, the largest being the Annual Giving campaign and the Auction Gala. The annual November Auction, the school’s largest grossing annual fundraiser, provides unrestricted funds for the school’s operating budget and includes a Special Appeal to raise targeted funds for an educational priority determined each year. Past Special Appeals have funded new educational technology, professional development, math and science learning resources, early childhood classroom essentials, and facilities improvements.

Like the auction, Annual Giving also supports the school’s operating budget with critical unrestricted funds. Although donations are accepted throughout the fiscal year, the majority of gifts come in during the month-long Annual Giving campaign each February. The school requests that every household and staff member donate every year to either Annual Giving or the Auction Special Appeal. Trustees are asked to make a yearly donation to both campaigns. Overall, annual donations (excluding capital gifts) increased roughly 40% between 2007/2008 and 2012/2013. In 2012/2013, 100% of staff members and trustees and 79% of active families made either an Annual Giving or Special Appeal contribution. The 2013/2014 campaign is underway; it began in the fall with contributions from 100% of trustees and full-time staff.

A limited number of smaller annual fundraising events raise money for specific purposes. These include the Run for the Arts jog-a-thon benefitting the TIS music and art departments, and the annual Wine Tasting Social benefitting the school’s library media center. The wine tasting serves not only as a fundraiser, but also as an anticipated community social event for past and present TIS families and friends. TIS purposefully limits the number of fundraising activities to keep school life focused on the children, and to develop the few larger campaigns that provide the most benefit for our community.

To expand the range of giving options, the Board of Trustees adopted the school’s first endowment fund policy in 2013. The development staff will lead an effort to educate the community on this new giving opportunity over the coming year.

In addition to our annual fundraising programs, the school is now in the early stages of a $4 million capital campaign for a new ten-classroom building. See more information at intlschool.org/campus.

For more details on TIS’ fundraising events, campaigns and results, please see intlschool.org/giving and intlschool.org/annualreport/.