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One-Hour Workshops: Communications and Advancement Track

Designed for heads and trustees as well as communication and advancement practitioners, these workshops address what it takes to ensure effective communication to — and relations with — all key constituencies.​​​​​​​​​

  • Block 1 (Thursday, March 2, 8:00 - 9:00 AM)
    • Chess with the Press... or Seven Tips for Crisis Communications

      339

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      All schools are liable to confront crises and attract unwanted attention. International schools must cope with an added layer of complexity. They have to stay attuned to global events that might stoke fears locally. The French American School in San Francisco has grappled with study trips to Latin American during a Zika outbreak, requests for perspectives on the Parisian terrorist attacks, and an erroneous report of graffiti that resembled an ISIS flag. Find out how the school has managed the ensuing chaos, internally and externally.
      Presented ByRobert Movradinov and Melinda Bihn, French American International School (CA)
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      Explore How can we be prepared for crises, even though they strike when we least expect them? How do you prioritize communication with your internal constituents vs. the press? How do you deal with zealous reporters, control the story, and use the attention to cast a positive light on your school?
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    • Critical Collaboration: How to Develop Successful Admission and Marketing Partnerships

      337

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      This session focuses on the importance of breaking down silos. Get strategies for achieving admission goals by combining strong recruiting efforts with top-notch marketing plans. Learn how events, travel, inquiry generation, and enrollment can all benefit from coordinated marketing campaigns with targeted email, social media, blogs, SEO, lead nurturing, and more.
      Presented ByStacy Jagodowski, Cheshire Academy (CT)
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      ExploreWhat does an effective admission and marketing partnership look like, and what are the benefits to each office, the school, and its mission? What are some new and innovative tools that can best aid in admission marketing and support the mission of the school? How can we improve our admission marketing efforts now without spending a fortune?
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    • Fundraising Can Be Fun! Generating Excitement and Philanthropy Using Mini-Campaigns

      307

      Could your annual fund use a midwinter boost? Perhaps a fun mini-campaign would energize your donors. This presentation will explore Woodlynde School's use of themed mini-campaigns to build interest in the annual fund, galvanize the community, and create a culture of philanthropy. Come see the music videos, morning assemblies, and marketing materials that have enabled this school to reach its goal for five consecutive years.
      Presented ByChris Fulco and Lisa Ketcham, Woodlynde School (PA)
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      ExploreHow can my school use mini-campaigns to generate excitement for the annual fund? How can a campaign for donor dollars also help to educate the community and create a culture of philanthropy? How can the incorporation of humor and friendly competition be used to maximize the annual fund?
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    • Inspiring Million-Dollar Giving from Women: Real Data, Real Results, Unreal Impact

      322/323

      Women are a force in the philanthropic landscape; are you prepared to harness this force? This session provides an overview of research on women in philanthropy and offers actionable data findings to cultivate million-dollar gifts from women donors. You'll emerge with insights from the tangible results of campaign efforts at selected girls' schools.
      Presented ByElizabeth Zeigler, Graham-Pelton Consulting, Inc.; Louise Peterson, The Madeira School (VA); Preston Athey, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
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      ExploreWhat does the latest data tell us about the philanthropic behavior of women? How should the findings about women philanthropists change how independent schools prepare their cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies? What are proven best practices for schools to follow to more effectively motivate campaign giving at transformational levels from its female constituencies?
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  • Block 2 (Thursday, March 2, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM)
    • Does Your Market Value Your Values? Aligning Your School’s Brand with Its Identity

      340

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Although the relevance of your mission, values, and vision statements is usually self-evident to school insiders, too often the way you translate these core ideas leaves prospective families baffled, bored, or — worse — convinced you’re something you’re not! Learn tips from one school that strengthened its value proposition and reframed its “artsy, LD school” reputation while remaining steadfastly grounded in timeless values.
      Presented ByTiffany Hendryx, Firebrand for Education; Sharon Klein, St. George's School of Montreal (Canada)
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      ExploreHow can my school simultaneously communicate its values and its value proposition — especially if we’re already incorrectly understood by our market? How can we avoid sound-alike, ubiquitous, jargon-filled, co-opted, or stereotype-reinforcing language and imagery in our messaging? How can my school use its founding principles to frame and invigorate current admissions, development, and other marketing campaigns in ways that are both timeless and timely?
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    • Five Top Priorities for an Independent School Communicator

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      In this interactive session, a veteran of 20 years in independent school communications will attempt to boil down his wisdom into five top recommendations for anyone working in this field. How many will involve websites? Indeed, how many will involve formal communications such as magazines, websites, and viewbooks at all? Come with your own list of five and see how they compare to the presenter’s recommendations.
      Presented ByMark Neustadt, Neustadt Creative Marketing
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      Explore How should I set my priorities as someone in charge of communications at an independent school? What tips can I get for better doing my job? What advice can I get for improving my school's website?
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    • Keepin’ It Real: Rewards and Risks of Using Authentic Voices in Marketing Independent Schools

      326

      Consumers love companies that are “authentic.” So what does that mean for independent schools? Learn how two communications directors highlighted the authentic voices of students, faculty, and alumni on their new websites. You will learn marketing best practices, hear how to deal with the challenges of combining authenticity with strategy, and get tips on how to use real voices of community members to convey what is unique about your school.
      Presented ByAmanda Darling, Lakeside School (WA); Joanna Gilman, Thayer Academy (MA)
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      Explore Why and how should I use authentic voices from students and faculty in marketing materials, including websites, social media, and print publications? Why does it pay to be strategic when planning your marketing and communications projects for the year – and what does that strategy looking like in a finished product? As you move through the steps of a successful website design process, how do you incorporate and highlight authentic voices?
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    • Planning a Capital Campaign: Are Your Trustees Ready to Take the Lead?

      336

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Before you begin a capital campaign, look carefully at your board of trustees. Are there major donor prospects and potential campaign leaders on your board? Have you done recent strategic planning? Will your trustees help to cultivate and to steward top donors? And will all of your trustees be the first to give? What can you do if your board is not ready to take the lead in fundraising? Come to discuss these questions and to share your experiences.
      Presented ByHelen Colson, Helen Colson Development Associates; Anne Seltzer, Development Strategies
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      ExploreHow should the board get ready for a capital campaign? What are the trustees' most important responsibilities during a capital campaign?  What strategies can you use if the board is not yet ready to take the lead?
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    • Ready, Action! Making Video the Best Tool in Your Kit

      Hilton: Billie Holiday 2

      Images elicit seven times the online engagement that text does — and video does seven times that. The tools have gotten easier and more accessible, but many schools still struggle to produce quality videos that draw viewers in. Learn what to buy, how to use it, and basic principles of filmcraft which will take your video game to a new level.
      Presented ByAdam Olenn, Moses Brown School (RI)
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      Explore How do I structure a video so people will watch to the end? How do I make it look professional? I made a good video–now what do I do with it?
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    • Your School’s Mission and Values: How to Use Them to Attract a Wider Pool of Applicants

      Hilton: Billie Holiday 3

      Whether you realize it or not, your school’s values link directly to your mission — and also to your school’s brand. In this interactive session, you will learn how two very different schools each successfully used their values to create a brand and admission campaign to attract new families. You’ll leave smarter about school branding; clearer on how your mission, values, and brand are linked; and practiced in a powerful new way of describing your school.
      Presented ByDan Glass, Brandeis School of San Francisco (CA); Trent Nutting, Marin Academy (CA); Jennie Winton and Zach Hochstad, Mission Minded
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      ExploreWhy should my school care about its brand, and how would a stronger brand support admissions and advancement? Since my school already has a mission, why do I need a brand, and what’s the difference? How can I use my school’s values and mission to more efficiently attract a wider and more diverse pool of applicants?
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  • Block 3 (Thursday, March 2, 1:15 - 2:15 PM)
    • Brand and Mission Are Not One and the Same

      318

      When done well, a rebranding process can help an internal community better understand and articulate the goals of its mission while also strengthening its brand promise to an external audience. This interactive session will lead you through a group discussion based on New Canaan Country School's experience. Country School successfully translated its mission into a brand, increased enrollment, and unified the skeptical internal community.
      Presented ByBrooke Springer, New Canaan Country School (CT); Maria Kadison, Edwards & Co.
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      Explore What is the difference between a mission statement and a value proposition or brand statement? How can branding improve external and internal marketing? What are the steps required for a successful branding process: from selecting a firm, building a project team, getting buy-in and consensus, to successfully launching?
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    • Expanding Enrollment by Identifying and Converting Fence-Sitters

      340

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      As competition for students continues to increase among all types of schools, how does your school expand its pool of potential students? One viable possibility may be to pursue "fence-sitters" — families who are somewhat likely to consider attending an independent school but currently choosing another education option. This session will cover the market research necessary to find and influence this untapped market.
      Presented ByBeruria Novich and Brian Doyle, Pacific Consulting Group
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      ExploreAs competition increases in the education market, how can schools expand their reach of potential applicants? What are the population segments of fence sitters that may be most likely to consider independent schools? How can market research be leveraged to better understand and market to local families and students who may be on the fence about attending an independent school?
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    • Marketing Your School to Millennials

      326

      Millennial families are a fast-growing population segment. Will they choose your school or your competition? In this session, we'll explore why marketing to Millennial families is key for long-term growth, and we'll show you how to do it, too. From Facebook to Pinterest and mobile apps to responsive websites, new tools are vital for getting ready for the new generation of families at your school.
      Presented ByJaclyn Day, RenWeb; Courtney Haindel, Parkview Baptist School (LA)
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      ExploreWhat is a millennial and how do they parent? Why does it matter? How do they want to interact and communicate with our school? How do you reach millennial parents and then prepare to teach their children?
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  • Block 4 (Friday, March 3, 8:00 - 9:00 AM)
    • Conversations With Impact: Deepening Annual Fund Support With Major Gifts Strategies

      307

      Does it feel like every year your goal for the annual fund gets larger and more challenging to achieve? Do you wonder how best to sustain your annual fund long-term in the face of increasing competition and decreasing retention? Join this conversation about the value of applying traditional major gifts strategies to change the trajectory of your institution's annual fund.
      Presented ByKelly Fantegrossi, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (MA)
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      Explore How can we create a culture of philanthropy for a new generation of donors while honoring the philanthropic conversation with more mature donors? How does a contemporary major gifts approach increase the long-term growth and retention of an annual fund? What are the key components of an annual fund using major gifts best practices and how can research be a critical investment for an annual fund?
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    • How a Multiyear, Highly Targeted Facebook Ad Campaign Helped Grow Enrollment

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      Many NAIS schools today are using Facebook as part of their social media marketing. To maximize your investment of time and money, you must have a keen understanding of how to design and successfully implement a micro-targeted campaign with measurable results. Find out how to create a focused strategy that integrates content engagement wih specific calls to action and provides your administrative team and board with analytics that demonstrate return on investment.
      Presented ByCami Colarossi and Maureen Cannon, Notre Dame Preparatory School (MD); Jonathan Oleisky and Gerri Baum, Kalix Communications, LLC
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      ExploreHow can my school build a comprehensive editorial engagement strategy that is a key part of my admissions marketing? How can we use Facebook advertising campaigns for successful micro-targeting? How can I provide my administrative team and board with measurable analytics that demonstrate return on investment?
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    • Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: Community Engagement as an Advertising Strategy

      Hilton: Billie Holiday 4

      In an increasingly competitive market, independent schools have become embroiled in a marketing arms race — but branding and advertising draw dollars away from program development and scholarships. Learn how one school is leveraging earned media coverage by building buzz from outside sources.
      Presented ByAdam Olenn, Moses Brown School (RI)
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      Explore How can I build brand awareness for my school without vaporizing my budget? How do I decide what sorts of community engagement support our mission and which are a distraction from it? Do I need to hire someone to run this program, or can it be executed by existing staff?
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    • Message Your Mission: How to Tell Your School’s Story to Capture the Interest of New Families

      340

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      If you know what makes your school special but struggle to describe it in a succinct way, this session is for you. Learn how to use the Minute Message Model to powerfully convey your school’s values to prospective families. You’ll hear from a high school in San Francisco that had so much success with this model that it had its most successful admissions season in history. The school even had to open up new slots to accommodate the incoming ninth grade.
      Presented ByJonathan Herzenberg, Drew School (CA); Jennie Winton, Mission Minded
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      Explore With so much to share, how can I succinctly describe my school’s values and mission in a way that resonates with right-fit families? How can I create messages that everyone at my school, including the head, faculty, staff, board, and parents want to use? How can new messages support our admissions and development efforts, and why is the right message so important when our mission is already clear?
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    • Stop Being the Best-Kept Secret: Amp Up Your Online Presence, Improve Your Impact

      341

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Word of mouth is king when it comes to driving contact-form completion, tours, and admissions. But more and more K-12 schools are amping up their online visibility and making sure they’re findable to their target market, influencers, and referral partners through search and social SEO (search engine optimization). In this workshop we'll pull back the curtain to shed light on the path to modern SEO success.
      Presented ByJenny Munn, The Munn Group
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      Explore Why am I not ranking better? Why are other schools ahead of me? What do I need to do to get started today improving our presence online?
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  • Block 5 (Friday, March 3, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM)
    • Closed-Loop Alumni Programming: Effective Engagement for K-8 Schools

      307

      Elementary and K-8 schools face challenges engaging their graduates throughout their high school and college years and beyond. Come learn about one school's success with a "closed loop" alumni program. Leave with inspiration and concrete ways to bring together multiple constituencies, serve alumni as well as the community, and connect alumni to your mission.
      Presented ByWendy Horng Brawer and Liz Clark, Prospect Sierra School (CA)
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      Explore Are the efforts to reach young alumni worth the time and resources vis-a-vis other funding priorities of a K-8 school? What would a successful and effective K-8 alumni program look like? How do you prioritize activities when starting a new alumni program?
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    • Mirrors and Windows: Reaching, Supporting, and Cultivating Relationships with Our Families of Color

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      Learn about efforts to increase diversity at a boys’ school originally founded in 1890 for white, upper-class students. The framework and programs the school has developed to connect admission, students, and parents can serve as a blueprint for other schools trying to create unified support for families of color.
      Presented ByLauren Calig and Joseph Hollings, University School - Shaker Campus (OH); Terry Lipford, University School (OH)
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      ExploreHow can we attract families of color to our school? How can we support the families once they are a part of our community? How can we create an overreaching presence for equity and inclusion for the whole community?
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      Related Documents
      Calig (PDF, 215 KB)
    • Mission Control: Launching Your Small School Marketing Strategy

      341

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Guided by the head of a school with 60 students, this session will show you how marketing a small school requires a paradigm shift away from corporate-style brand awareness and big idea strategies. You will learn how to leverage students, faculty, families, and programs to generate word of mouth and grow enrollment and donor prospects. Find out how to examine your mission, develop mission-based key performance indicators, conduct no-cost market research, and leverage your assets to create powerful direct marketing plans for your school.
      Presented ByAlex Brosowsky, The Quaker School at Horsham (PA)
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      Explore Heads of school know they need to vigorously market their schools with a small budget and with minimal personnel, where do they start?  Now that big time marketing theory has entered the collective vocabulary of independent school leaders, what are small schools to do? How does a school relate all of their marketing efforts back to their mission?
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    • The Chicken or the Egg: Can Strong Branding Lead to Stronger School Programs and Pedagogy?

      Hilton: Billie Holiday 2

      This workshop tells how marketing and program improvement can connect, how branding can inspire, and how a K–8 school community jumped aboard a bandwagon and made a pedagogical push something to celebrate. Learn the role that traditional and digital storytelling played in bringing about a positive cultural shift in the classroom and in an entire community. Come ready to collaborate; expect to leave with a fresh perspective and creative solutions.
      Presented ByElizabeth Pride and Jaime Lassman, The Lexington School (KY)
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      Explore What are mission skills and why are they important for independent schools? How do you brand and market a methodology, especially one as esoteric as mission skills? Can marketing/branding a method inspire the improvement of pedagogy and programming in an independent school, and how does that translate in terms of overall school success?
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  • Block 6 (Friday, March 3, 1:15 - 2:15 PM)
    • Creating a Culture of Engagement: From Acceptance to Alumnus

      330

      Every school has untapped opportunities when it comes to institutional advancement. This presentation will explore strategic initiatives that take advantage of the full student experience, from acceptance to alumnus, to build a culture of engagement. Come discuss a more comprehensive institutional advancement strategy, including how to measure your intiative's impact and convey it to the leaders of your school and board.
      Presented ByPeter Bachmann, Flintridge Preparatory School (CA); Henry Smyth, Gilman School (MD); Micajah Dudley, Shearwater
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      ExploreHow can independent schools strategically build an improved culture of engagement from the moment a student is accepted to their time as an alumnus? How can this improved culture of engagement be measured and shared with school and board leadership? How can this improved culture of engagement build a more comprehensive institutional advancement paradigm for schools who embrace it, creating a virtuous cycle of success?
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    • Return on Investment: Why an Independent School Education Is Worth the Cost

      336

      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      Although independent schools operate under a variety of organizing principles, they all share one thing: a mission-driven, student-centered, culture-rich, non-bureaucratic model. This model has distinct advantages over the increasingly standardized, compliance-driven model that characterizes public education today. Is an independent school education worth the cost? Come to this session for well-researched data and provocative information that will support the independent school value proposition.
      Presented ByDouglas Lyons, Connecticut Association of Independent Schools
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      ExploreHow does the limbic system influence memory retrieval? What components of a school experience advance both learning and attitudes toward learning? How can schools market the independent school advantage?
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    • The New Realities in Crisis Management

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      NAIS Virtual Pass Audio

      The fallout from a poorly managed crisis can have very significant consequences. However, if prepared, a school can get through a tough situation and emerge even stronger. This session will help you be crisis ready. Get an up-to-date list of issues to be aware of, learn the elements of crisis planning, and receive a crisis checklist to take back to school with you.
      Presented ByJane Maxwell Hulbert and Jim Hulbert, The Jane Group
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      Explore What are the trending crisis topics? What are the best strategies for preparing for a crisis? What are the pitfalls to avoid in protecting the reputation of the school.
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    • The Tao of Small School Advancement

      328

      Making small school advancement make sense requires vision, confidence, collaboration, creativity, efficiency, and action plans that are both meaningful and practical. In this session, you’ll figure out the best ways to combine these elements into a strong and sustainable program for your school.
      Presented ByStarr Snead, Advancement Connections; Shelley Reese, The Learning Center for the Deaf (MA)
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      Explore How can you, your head of school and board define success in a small advancement shop? What are the tools needed to build and manage a successful advancement program? What tools and benchmarks can be useful in measuring success? What are the essential elements to building a short-term and long-term plan for your school's advancement efforts?
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