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"Everything I know about development I learned from you and I thank you for your leadership, energy, dedication and friendship."

--Courtney Clark Pastrick, Trustee, Campaign Co-Chair, Sidwell Friends School


CAMPAIGN ACCOUNTING POLICIES will adhere to the School’s Gift Accounting and Administration Policies, as approved by the Board of Trustees on ______fill in date__.  The following policies apply solely to the timing, counting and recognition of gifts within the Campaign anticipated to begin in the Fiscal Year 2017 and to extend through a public phase that will end on June 30, 2020.

  • The Campaign is designed to secure $25 million for the following purposes: 
    • Endowment with a particular emphasis on faculty - $11 million
    • New Upper School Library and Media Center - $8 million
    • Annual Funds during the Advance Gifts year and the three public years of the Campaign, July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020 - $6 million
  • All gifts received during the Advance Gifts year (scheduled to be July 1, 2017-May 2, 2018) and the public campaign (scheduled to begin May 3, 2018 and last until June 30, 2020) will be credited to the Campaign unless they are designated for a use that does not fall within the objectives of the Campaign.
  • Gifts to the Annual Funds will count in the Campaign only if they are completed (i.e. all pledges paid) within the Advance Gifts year (2017) and the three public years of the Campaign, specifically Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • Pledges for campaign capital and endowment objectives made before June 30, 2020 will count in the Campaign, and are expected to be paid by December 31, 2022.

  • Pledges to the Campaign must by documented by a signed and dated pledge card or letter of intent to be counted in the Campaign total.
  • Conditional pledges may be credited at face value to the Campaign, with permission of the Gift Acceptance Committee.
  • Gifts in trust, which are irrevocably committed to the School, will count in the Campaign totals as gifts to endowment.  If the income beneficiary of the Trust will reach the age of 72 by December 31, 2022, the donor will receive gift credit for the full face value of the irrevocably committed Trust assets.  If the income beneficiary is younger, credit will be given only for the charitable remainder (value of the asset less the income interest).
  • Charitable Lead Trusts will count in the Campaign at the value of the Trust payments expected to be made before the end of the pledge payment period, December 31, 2022.
  • Distributions from estates and trusts received by St. Paul’s School during the Campaign will count toward the $25 million goal; provided they are designated for an approved objective of the Campaign and they have not been counted in a previous campaign.
  • Bequest commitments will be sought as part of this Campaign and donors will be publicly acknowledged and given credit for participation in the Campaign, but the amounts of such bequest intentions will not be counted toward the $25 million Campaign goal.
  • The Campaign will adhere to all policies in place and approved by the Board of Trustees concerning named endowment funds and named spaces (buildings, gardens or other physical spaces).  
  • A gift or documented pledge—either unrestricted to the Campaign or directed to the specific building project -- may be used to name a physical space.  
  • To name an endowment fund, a gift must be designated for the School’s endowment.
  • Pledges and conditional pledges that are not fully honored by the end of the Campaign pledge period will be considered in default, and the School reserves the right to remove recognition given in exchange for pledges that are not fully honored.
  • Pledges of future gifts of uncertain value (income from partnerships, copyrights, etc.) cannot be used to name physical spaces, unless they are backed up by a conditional pledge from the donor to meet the minimum required gift amount to name the space.
  • Exceptions to the above rules and standards may be made in specific cases by the Gift Acceptance Committee, composed of the Campaign Chairs, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Headmaster, Assistant Head for Development and Chief Financial Officer.


Feasibility studies are time-consuming and expensive.  They are best utilized when an institution feels that they have done their homework, they know their major donors, they know what they need and they are relatively certain of a positive outcome from the study.  A premature study not only wastes money, but risks sending a negative signal to the institution’s largest donors. 

The irony of feasibility studies is that the best ones only confirm what the Development Office “thinks” that it knows; new and surprising information from a feasibility study is likely to be negative.

The value of the feasibility study – for even for the most sophisticated and well-developed fundraising program – is three-fold:
  1. A positive feasibility study confirms the best guesses and judgments of the institution about what it can raise, for what and from whom; and
  2. A feasibility study educates the intuition’s largest donors about what will be required of them and of the institution during a major fundraising campaign; and
  3. A substantive, data-oriented feasibility study report constructively engages the Trustee and fundraising leadership in the process of decision-making leading up to the campaign.
To ensure that your institution is ready to hire a consultant and start the feasibility study process, ask yourselves the following questions first:
  1. Is your institution and its leadership – its Board of Trustees, President or School Head, and senior administration – positively regarded by the community you serve? 
  2. Do you have a strong case for fundraising support for the institution and is this case related to a multi-year strategic plan and does it involve a  fundraising goal that is not totally unrealistic?
  3. Do you have a good sense of your major gift community and a strong suspicion about where the lead gifts in your next fundraising campaign are likely to be?
  4. Is your Board of Trustees supportive of this fundraising effort and are there other fundraising volunteers ready to join in, particularly at the leadership level?
  5. Is this the right time – internally, in terms of staff readiness to undertake an intense fundraising effort and externally, in terms of competing campaigns or the economy?
If you answer yes to all questions, you have a good chance of gaining a positive feasibility study result.

Have a question?

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Most heads of institutions and development offices are used to setting goals and measuring results against last year’s achievement.  But, for many of us who get too far into the trees of our own programs, measuring our successes against the single ruler of our own history may leave us unaware of new techniques and best practices used elsewhere to maximize fundraising revenues.  

Benchmarking is the continuous and systematic process of comparing and measuring our own productivity against leaders elsewhere.  It helps us gain information and improve performance.  Specifically, benchmarking will help you to:
  1. Identify “best practices’ among your peers by examining leaders in various areas, such as annual giving from alumni or parents or planned giving.
  2. Concentrate your scarce personnel and dollar resources on programs that are most likely to have the best payoffs, as demonstrated by the experience of peer institutions.
  3. Educate your institution’s leadership about the real experiences of institutions within your peer group, as measured objectively by standardized data.
  4. Set reasonable goals that might be aspirational but realistic and measure progress over time against these goals.
While CASE and NAIS offer programs to help institutions compare their fundraising results, I prefer the hands-on data-mining programs and database histories available through the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), which has been in the data-mining and data collection business for six decades.  Their database includes most institutions of higher education, the boarding schools and most of the larger independent day-school programs.

PKJA can help you benchmark your program against your peers and set goals and identify key factors that will lead to greater fundraising results.