Fundraising is a challenge for even the most successful independent schools says John Littleford, an internationally renowned educational consultant. Exemplary educational standards, thriving students and dedicated staff are not always enough when it comes to raising funds. The harsh reality is, without adequate financial resources, many of theses schools lose the ability to continue offering high quality, independent education.
The need for supplementary fundraising has grown in the past decade. Parents are being enlisted to drive the fundraising efforts often with little experience or guidance. As the need for increased money puts pressure on schools, more institutions are seeking the help of experienced professionals to lead these motivated volunteers.
John Littleford is one of the experts learning institutions have been contacting. For 45 years Littleford built his expertise in the fields of education and administrative consultation. His firm, Littleford & Associates LLC, is an internationally recognized consultation firm and often one of the first to receive a call when schools run into fundraising challenges. .
Understandably, the first concern a prospective school has is the cost of a fundraising service. Fortunately, a highly effective fundraising or admissions effort does not need to cost the school a lot of money. John Littleford’s administrative consultation experience ranges from the local to the international and he has witnessed fundraising at every level of education. “School Administrators need to know that they are not adding to the cost of running the school, but rather they are making an investment in the future,” says Littleford.
John Littleford Advocates Parents as Ambassadors
When it comes to raising funds or increasing enrollment, every learning establishment has the keys to success staring at them every day.
“Our research shows approximately 80% of independent school inquiries come from word of mouth conversations,” said John Littleford when asked where schools should focus their time and energy. Educational institutions should create a vision that makes devoted current parents eager to spread the “good word.”
Littleford has developed the Parent Ambassador Program to help schools utilize their best spokespersons. These ambassadors are invested personally in the financial health of the school and in their children’s success and are more willing to involve and invest themselves in fundraising and/or admissions efforts.
Small Investment Reaps Big Rewards
Any school can benefit from setting up a Parent Ambassador Program for its admission and/or fundraising goals and will easily recoup the investment. “Our research shows most schools find the recruitment of either one additional, full tuition-paying student and or the receipt of five annual giving gifts totaling $15,000 pays for the cost of the Parent Ambassador Program.” said John Littleford.
Littleford said he believes most schools have a core group of parents that can be easily trained and motivated to take on the tasks associated with being a Parent Ambassador. Once this parent group is formed and functioning, they will become an enthusiastic and educated core to guide the next generation of parents into the program. Even better, past parent ambassadors become a source of support and financial assistance for the school in the future. The keys are properly training, motivating and rewarding the ambassadors; proper oversight by the Admissions and/or Development functions; and perseverance.
As the financial demands of providing quality education for children increases, schools are increasingly finding it difficult to come up with adequate funding. Children are our most precious resource. John Littleford understands that dedicated parent ambassadors can help finance the turning of these raw gems into precious stones.