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Margo Newman, Director of Development from Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School spoke to GFA participants about her experience in Prizmah’s Generations Program

Margo shared that that as a one-woman development shop, she was overwhelmed with how much there was to do each day. She could personally relate to her iphone when it alerted her: “Storage Almost Full, manage settings.”

So when she was approached by Generations to see if she was interested in learning about endowment she said no. She was just too busy.

What changed her mind was learning the following:

  • It is a recipe for burnout to continuously rely on annual campaign
  • Think of the annual campaign as your checking account, endowment as your savings account
  • Donors who make endowment gifts do not normally lower their annual gifts, they raise them
  • As a Generations participant you are assigned a coach for 3 years (no more one-woman shop!)

The indications that the school was ready to begin building endowment:

  • strong support from lay leaders
  • a strong head of school who is committed for the long term
  • a healthy annual campaign
  • donors who committed to seeing the school succeed

After beginning this work, Margo reflects that bringing up endowment is a way to elevate the conversation and she learned many exciting things about donors and their deep commitment to the school. She further shares that in order to be successful, you don’t have to be an expert on endowment, investments, etc. There are outside people who can help with that.  Some of your donors who have professional experience managing money. When you seek their advice, they become engaged and interested.

Margo concludes,  “Development work is hard. We (development professionals) cannot do it alone. Prizmah has set our school up for success and surrounded us with the tools and expertise we need to go to the next level.”