Back to School(s): Learning and Legacy at the CASE Europe Annual Conference

It was an honor to be asked by CASE Europe‘s Executive Director Kate Hunter to help shape the 2013 CASE Annual Conference in Manchester. Andrew Beales, foundation director at Giggleswick School in North Yorkshire, and I were tasked with planning the conference’s schools track to include sessions tailored to delegates from international and independent schools.

What We Heard Prior to the Conference
These are the things we hear over and over from colleagues working in advancement at independent and international schools—small team, one (wo)man band, starting from next to nothing, building a program and small budgets. Passionate staff members often ask how they can do more, have impact and maintain reasonable expectations from their governing bodies and headmasters. So we decided to seek out speakers who have addressed these challenges, have done the research and who are passionate practitioners themselves.

The Takeaways
During the course of two days, delegates walked away with concepts and ideas spanning the granular to the strategic.

  • It’s all about the long game. Building a culture of giving in your school is a long-term prospect.—Headmaster Peter Hamilton, and Peter Spence, director of external relations, from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, during “Lessons Learnt: Adapting American Advancement to European Schools and Colleges.”
  • Customize content. International alumni are all individuals with different needs and interests, not just a big group of people who happen to live abroad.—Liz Allen, director of online communications and alumni relations at The American School in London, during “A Global Perspective: International Alumni Communications and Engagement.”
  • Climb the ladder is key when strategizing alumni engagement. Move alumni up the ladder through communications, events and volunteering.—Alison Gardner, head of development and alumni relations at Sheffield High School, during “Alumni Relations in Schools – Building the Foundations.”
  • Manage expectations with a business plan. Be strategic and what you can and cannot do with your time and resources.—Clive Watkins, director of advancement at the International School of Prague, during “Doing More with Less: the Secrets of Effective (but small) Advancement Offices.”
  • Be a visible part of your community. Work with students, coach a sport, teach.—Simon Jones, director of development at Manchester Grammar School, during “Using Organisational Culture to Your Advantage: An Insight into Manchester Grammar School’s Bursary Campaign.”
  • Giving is an expression of humanity. We must create a real and lasting culture of philanthropy in our society.—John Nickson, philanthropist and author, during “Why Does Giving Matter?”

What We Learned
There were numerous “track jumpers”—delegates from universities who left their tracks to take part in the schools sessions. We even had delegates from universities at the schools-only closing reception! This “cross-tracking” was one of the highest compliments we could have received. It also proves an important point—regardless of our institutional affinities (schools, universities, colleges), many of us are struggling with the same issues and the conference provided the opportunity to learn from all types of institutions.

This piece is cross-posted on the CASE Blog.


Hello Europe

The folks at CASE Europe have welcomed me with open arms since arriving in London last fall. I’m happy to say I’m presenting at two events this summer:

First, at Online Management: Beyond Social Media, a daylong seminar put together by Ellie Lovell of Warwick University (follow along with #caseonline if you can’t be there in person).

And second, as part of the first ever schools programme at the CASE Europe Annual Conference, speaking with Tracy Playle of Pickle Jar Communications.

Please let me know if you’ll be in attendance, and stop by to say hello!

New Role, New Home

I am thrilled to announce the next step in my professional life. As of Monday, October 24, I will begin a new full time position at the American School in London as Associate Director of Advancement for Alumni Relations. I have relocated from Southern California to the UK and am living in central London.

ASL is a k-12 independent school with a diverse, international alumni base. I’ll be a part of an enthusiastic advancement team, and I will be using my alumni relations and social media experience to deliver programs and services to ASL’s alumni.

I plan to continue to blog in this space, to present at conferences and workshops, and to volunteer. But for now, I’ll be spending the majority of my time getting settled and learning all I can about ASL and the UK.

Thank you all for reading, and being a part of a start of the next chapter for this blog and for me.

Upcoming Social Media Conferences

What’s your professional development plan for the Spring? If you’re heading to one of the following conferences, please make sure to say hello.

I’ll be in San Antonio, TX, next week for the Academic Impressions’ Social Media for Advancement and Admissions: Moving from Tactics to Strategy conference. It’s from March 21-23. We’ll cover a wide variety of social media topics from ROI to student generated content, and the conference is designed for both admissions and advancement staff. Hashtag: #aisocmed

Next up I’ll be at the CASE Social Media and Community conference in San Francisco, CA from April 13-15. This event is near and dear to my heart as I was last year’s Conference Chair. This year’s program will take a look at geosocial tools and analytics, plus there’s a tweetup sponsored by CASE and Alumni Futures on 4/14. Hashtag: #CASESMC11

Engaging Young Alumni

I’m in Atlanta this week serving as a faculty member for the Academic Impressions “Reaching Young Alumni: Key Building Blocks for Lifelong Relationships” conference. I’ll be talking about social media strategy and engagement, including topics like community management, developing strategy, and getting buy-in from the higher ups in your institution.

If you’ll be at the conference, please say hi. And if not, follow along on Twitter with the hashtag, #AIYoungAlumni.