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The Scope of Christian School Development

The following seven areas will greatly impact your school's ability to be successful in accomplishing its mission. Understanding this scope will keep you from being one-dimensional, thinking that “Development” is merely about raising money.

Fundraising This includes all of your efforts to raise money to accomplish your organizational goals and directives. Student Recruitment Your efforts to properly demonstrate mission accomplishment will be seen in seats filled with students from families who want what you have to offer. Public Relations It is important that you effectively relate your mission and vision to the community in which you serve, both logistically and identifiably (as a Christian ministry) so that they will know about you and what you have to offer. Volunteer Recruitment and Retention This involves engaging the support of others who share in your mission and who will commit their time to help you accomplish it. Database Management A strong, systematized database will help you track donor contacts and communications, volunteer involvement, and names of others that you might contact or who have expressed interest in learning more about your organization and its focus. Strategic Planning Strategic plans help define the boundaries of vision to be accomplished, the mechanisms to be implemented, the lives to be impacted, and the time-frames needed to achieve success. Organization Development must never lack focus but must also never steal focus from other vital aspects of your mission. A high level of organization is critical to juggle the many moving pieces you will undertake to make Development a success. Most Christian school’s operate without one or more of the above-mentioned pieces that are essential to Development success. A sense of frustration often characterizes board members, administrative staff, personnel, constituents, and prospective donors of these organizations. Both annual and capital funding campaigns will rely predominantly on strategy and well-defined plans and goals. While annual funding and capital campaign funding are inextricably linked, all of fund Development work is day to day and never a flash in the pan gimmick and must work harmoniously to be effective. The following are true about Development work:

  • It is relational. The primary focus of Development is to establish relationships that help build stability, inertia, and a common thread among financial donors. Building relationships, however, must never be for the sake of relationship only. While good and strong long-lasting relationships are often forged in Development’s work, there is a code of ethics that also must be maintained between a donor and the person from the ministry working with the donor.

  • It is emotional. All relationships begin when one person is drawn emotionally to another. Yet, while emotions often help start a relationship, it cannot sustain it. People may be drawn emotionally to your work, but your aim is to move them toward a rational commitment to your mission.

  • It is rational. Enduring relationships grow based on things such as honesty, openness, truth, vulnerability, and commitment. A rationally focused relationship is one that doesn't expect perfection but does expect integrity.

The SchoolRIGHT Definition of Development We define ministry fund Development as doing the RIGHT things the RIGHT way to grow the RIGHT relationships with others in order to draw them closer to the heart of the ministry that they might become the RIGHT long-term financial donors of the ministry. This idea of doing the “right” things the “right” way involves a systematic approach in both annual giving and capital campaign funding. Neither can be strong without the other.

What Now? Serving Christian schools is what we do. We have been in your seat and understand your challenges. Our knowledge, expertise, and industry relationships make us a go-to for helping your Christian school succeed in Development. Contact us today to and let's begin the conversation.

DevRx Coaching will enhance your training by walking with you through a step-by-step process to begin or restructure your Development department. We will help you take a detailed look at your current processes, analyze donor perceptions and guide your Development team (no matter how small!). Authored by Clint Holden © SchoolRIGHT, LLC., unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.


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