An E-newsletter on EXCELLENCE in Leadership

Finding adequate funds for programs and activities on a school campus is a constant challenge. Fund raising can be separated into two categories: development program and organizations/activities.

Development Program

Schools must have an organized development program in order to provide an additional source of income to the institution. A development program establishes a base of financial support through contact with the school’s alumni, interested parties, local businesses, and foundations. While the principal can manage such a program, time generally does not allow for the principal to carry out all the duties necessary. It is better to have a development director or a development committee. Using the consulting services of Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) at the NAD, a principal can initiate and support a successful development program.

Organizations and Activities

Various organizations (e.g., senior class, student association, music department, Home and School, etc.) will choose to raise funds for activities. A school should have a policy for determining:

• Which organization gets which fund-raising activity.

• How the fund raisers are scheduled.

• Fund-raising guidelines (e.g., types of items to be sold, activities presented as fund raisers, etc.).

• Appropriate handling of funds.

September 2019 | Volume 8, No. 2

What is the Purpose of a Foundation Committee?

Carla Thrower | Principal of Takoma Academy / Takoma Academy Preparatory School




O ur schools are tasked with raising funds to meet several goals. Among them include:

• Increasing the schools' academic image in the community.

• Enhancing programming and offerings inclusive of technology usage.

• Providing professional development and coaching.

• Designing and implementing a marketing plan.

• Developing a scholarship program for students needing assistance to attend.


These goals cannot be managed by the school administration alone. Various stakeholders and entities within and outside of the school are encouraged to support the needs and participate in the accountability needed to establish a solid program. Hence a committee  designed to meet these pressing needs is valuable to the ongoing support and development of  each school. This committee can be a subcommittee to the board, whose sole purpose is to ensure that the goals are indeed being met. The purpose of the Foundation Committee is to help develop and implement a fundraising program for "Your School."




Ronnie Mills | Former Director of Institutional Advancement for Takoma Academy / Currently serves as

Associate Director of Development for the Voice of Prophecy


  1. The Foundation Committee serves as a valuable ally to the school. Their role and enthusiasm should serve as an additional stimulus to motivate your Board of Trustees to also give and secure funding for "Your School." The Committee's recommendation on what the board should raise (which is part of the school's overall Development Plan) is made in conjunction with the Development Director, who then presents the plan to the Board of Trustees for revision and/or ratification. All prospective board members should be apprised of the policy, so they are clear that giving and raising money is part of their responsibilities.
  2. One of the strengths of the Foundation Committee is that you can be creative in whom you want to serve on the Committee. Unlike other committees within our denominational structure, where some members are on a committee by virtue of their office, you should appoint only people on this committee who have philanthropic intent to help raise and give money to your school. Therefore, you should and can have non-board members on this committee as well as at least one member from the Board of Trustees. This committee should include alumni with resources to help the development effort and increase the committee’s effectiveness. Also, consider prominent members of your community who view your institution in a positive light, can give financial support, and after careful vetting, their membership would not pose a problem to the school.
  3. The Foundation Committee may have additional subcommittees responsible for various fundraising vehicles, such as special events, major gifts, planned giving, and capital campaign. Chairs for the subcommittees will be members of the Foundation Committee.
  4. To relieve the fears of the board, it must be made abundantly clear to the members of the Foundation Committee that it does not have the legal or the fiduciary responsibility of the Board of Trustees, but serves to offer constructive advice to the organization’s decision making regarding fundraising.
  5. As you vet who will serve on the Foundation Committee, you must apprise prospective members that they are expected to make a gift to "Your School." They must set the example. If they don't give, they will be less effective in encouraging others to give. After all, if they don't believe enough in the organization to give, how can they advocate to others to make a philanthropic gift.


General Commission: The Foundation Committee is commissioned by and responsible to “Your School’s” Board of Trustees, to play a pivotal role in conjunction with the Board of Trustees in raising money for "Your School."


  1. The Development/Advancement Director is appointed by the Principal.
  2. The Volunteer Chair is appointed by either the Principal or the Development/Advancement Director.
  3. The Foundation Committee is composed of the following: the Development/Advancement Director or “Your School's" Principal, and at least six members from alumni and/or friends of "Your School." These additional members will be recruited by the Chair of the Foundation Committee or Development/Advancement Director.
  4. All subcommittee chairs (of the Foundation Committee) will be included on the Foundation Committee.


Committee members will:

  1. Identify and evaluate prospects for major gifts. Participate in the cultivation of donors and personally ask for gifts when appropriate.
  2. Develop a “Gift Acceptance Policy” for “Your School” Board of Trustees. This policy outlines what gifts will or will not be accepted by your school. Take the policy to the full Board of Trustees for discussion and approval.
  3. Work with the Development/Advancement Director to create a yearly fundraising plan for “Your School,” including programs such as the annual campaign, special events, donor acquisition campaigns, and major gifts program.
  4. Participate (as appropriate) in the implementation of the fundraising plans.
  5. Provide help as needed to the Development/Advancement Director in the planning for capital campaigns and planned giving programs.
  6. Provide leadership and inspiration to "Your School" Board of Trustees, alumni, and constituency, in individual giving and participation in fundraising. Use personal contacts as funding sources when appropriate.
  7. Develop ways to increase the involvement of the Board of Trustee members and other volunteers in the organization’s fundraising programs.
  8. Cultivate personal relationships on behalf of "Your School."
  9. Assure that “Your School” maintains the high standards of philanthropy through ethical fundraising.


  1. Members will be invited to serve on an annual basis.
  2. The Chair may serve additional terms as requested by the Foundation Committee.


Foundation Committee:

  1. Participate in gift solicitations after proper training. Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) can provide this training at no cost to "Your School."
  2. Perform “prospecting” functions of identifying prospects and helping to qualify them and develop strategies for solicitation.
  3. Develop fundraising goals consistent with overall organizational goals and financially supportive of the principal's vision.
  4. Provide contacts and feedback for foundation/corporate appeals.
  5. Assist in developing strategies for planned giving.


  1. Links the Foundation Committee Program to "Your School."
  2. Provides vision and excitement.
  3. Actively participates in gift solicitations.
  4. Fosters acceptance of the Foundation Committee Program and philosophy.
  5. Supports the solicitation process by being actively involved in making calls and asking for "gifts" or "investments" in "Your School."
  6. Develops personal relationships on behalf of "Your School."
  7. Works closely with the Development/Advancement Director in making sure that the fundraising department has the necessary support it needs in reaching goals and objectives on an ongoing basis.

Development/Advancement Director:

  1. Driving force behind the Foundation Committee.
  2. Planner, organizer, educator, trainer, persuader, manager, motivator, and promoter.
  3. Communicates Development Plan to “Your School’s” Principal, Board of Trustees, Foundation Committee, and school employees.
  4. Advocates the Development Plan to the alumni and friends of "Your School."
  5. Makes Development plan operative by working with the Foundation Committee and alumni or parents, community and business leaders to help increase the visibility and impact of “Your School” in the community.
  6. Makes personal contacts and ask for philanthropic support to "Your School."
  7. Gives recognition and appreciation to those involved in any aspect of raising monies or volunteering services for "Your School."
  8. Works closely with the Foundation Committee Chair and Principal to proactively develop and advance philanthropy at "Your School."



“Your School” Foundation Committee raises money, recommends fundraising policies to the Board of Trustees, works with your Development/Advancement Director, and takes appropriate roles in implementing fundraising plans.

“I’ll do anything but raise money.”

Getting Your Board Engaged in Fundraising

Lilya Wagner, CFRE | Director, Philanthropic Service for Institutions
Faculty member, The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy




       Of all the overused and underappreciated phrases fundraisers or leaders in charge of fundraising hear, this one must be one of the most dreaded; "I'll do anything but raise money." Yet we know from research, experience, results and collegial verification that board members have definite roles to play in our success; in making linkages for us, providing us with information, being advocates for our organizations and for fundraising, for serving on our committees, and above all, asking AND giving.

One of my former clients/students who is now a principal in a private school recently wrote, “Like most fundraisers, I've seen this over and over again.” But unlike many of us who complain about this state of affairs yet rarely manage to overcome it, she has suggestions she has put into practice. “What I do with the unengaged board is to identify the tasks with which we need serious help, and then work with each board member to develop a customized, time-sensitive way to engage each person with those critical tasks. I get a good 'take' on the board member and also am very clear about the organization’s needs, and then figure out where the two intersect for this particular person.”

She went on to explain, "This doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort, just a to-the-point conversation which mines the interests of the board member and divulges personality characteristics which inform me on how this person might be helpful. For example, someone who is a sales-type 'people person' is someone I would ask for fundraising help. If our need is to cultivate donors we've identified in a far-away geographic region where this person is, I would ask him to do that and coach him on what that involves. If she has a ‘sales’ bent, it would be quick and easy to coach her. If our need is to increase our donor base, I would ask this person to identify 3 or 5 of her contacts who would have the strongest interest in what we do and begin cultivating them—again, giving her a 5-minute phone primer of what this involves. I'd ask her to set a deadline of when she might be able to accomplish this. Then, I'd add it to my calendar and check back with her. Again, these are tasks we really need done, so although they involve effort on my part (riding herd in some cases), I try to keep that effort minimal, and it is effort well spent because it furthers a specific critical need.”

In conclusion, my friend the principal advises, "The main point is to engage members in a way in which they're able to offer service in the areas of their passions and skillsets and to offer lots of praise and gratitude when they complete their tasks. Asking a shy, brilliant, socially inept teacher to make solicitations doesn't make any sense, even if she is on the development committee. I would, for example, ask her to advise me on a specific facet of a program which would resonate with her interests and background. But overall, it's about meeting people where they are, and maximizing the benefits of that.”

No doubt, this being a complex issue, there are many more suggestions on how to get a recalcitrant board involved and active, but the main points of this principal’s experience and advice can be summarized by the following:

  • First, have a fundraising plan that fits into your overall organizational plan.
  • Then, assess your board. Know why there is a reluctance (on the part of some, perhaps) to be involved in fundraising.
  • Plan carefully on how to match the tasks of your fundraising plan with the skills and interests of your board members.
  • Personalize both your approach and the tasks.
  • Provide adequate training and support his or her efforts.
  • Acknowledge his or her work and recognize it publicly, therefore motivating other board members to act.
  • Above all, don’t give up! It may take time, it may take action on the part of a few to be an example to the rest, and you need to have patience with individual differences.

For more information on fundraising principles and board involvement, please contact Dr. Lilya Wagner at lilyawagner@nadadventist.org, or 443-391-7172.




Newsletter Coordinator

Carla Thrower

Takoma Academy/Takoma Academy Preparatory School Principal

Newsletter Editor

Berit von Pohle, Editor

Pacific Union Conference, Director of Education

Ed Boyatt, Editorial Advisor