Institutional advancement is now more important than ever for independent schools, yet I believe that the traditional understanding of the term “advancement” is changing.
Going forward, advancement must be the locus of innovation; it is no longer “just” fundraising. There must be creation of substantial revenue sources: ones that, over time, will not only complement traditional fundraising programs, but rival—and perhaps exceed—them. The recession has made clear that endowment growth needs to be the primary driver of advancement energies, and these new revenue sources will be directed to support such growth.
The position of Director of Institutional Advancement, then, will be a hybrid of Chief Operations Officer and Business Development Officer. As such, this leader will manage a portfolio of complex projects, all of which involve teams of various constituencies (alumni, business leaders, parents, teachers, and even students) that report directly to the leader, insofar as each project is concerned. In short, independent education is being changed and shaped by the combination of a remarkable recession and tremendous advances in technology, both of which are forcing the necessity of innovation.