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  • encouraging diverse points of view.
  • continuous reflection and on-going improvement.
  • collegial relationships and ethical leadership.
  • independent education options for families.
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  • quality standards without standardization.
  • assisting schools in fulfilling their missions.

Using Your School's Unique Voice to Create A Culture of Giving

Date: Friday - January 24, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM





Using Your School’s Unique Voice to Create A Culture of Giving 


January 24, 2020  - Hotel Murano (Tacoma, WA)

Workshops 9:00-3:00

Reception 3:00-4:30


Access Conference Resources Here


A Workshop and Reception for Independent School Development and Communications Professionals

Join us for a day of learning and collegiality. Your registration will include both workshops as well as an evening reception. Don't miss this chance to deepen your work, your skills and your relationships with your NWAIS colleagues.



Workshop Agenda

9:00-11:00 Session One: Beyond Buzzwords: How To Find Your School’s Unique Voice 

11:00-12:00 Session Two: Setting Expectations: A Development Director’s Secret Weapon (part 1)

12:00 Lunch

1:00-3:00 Session Two: Setting Expectations: A Development Director’s Secret Weapon (part 2)

3:00-4:30 Reception and Light Hors D'oeuvres


Session One: Beyond Buzzwords: How To Find Your School’s Unique Voice  

Presented By:  Erin Culbertson, Senior Consultant, and Sarah Babb, Associate Consultant, Campbell and Co.

Strong student-teacher relationships. Stellar academics and extracurriculars. A focus on innovation. These building blocks are critical to a well-rounded education but listing your strengths alone won’t set you apart from other exceptional institutions. How do you communicate to your audience exactly who you are? 

In this tactical, how-to, interactive session we’ll move beyond buzzwords, uncovering your school’s unique personality with a step-by-step process. Through examples, audience activities, and group workshopping, attendees will begin to hone in on their school’s voice and learn how to use it within a fundraising context—and beyond.   

Group workshops will follow each individual activity where volunteers can share and discuss their work, giving the audience and presenters the opportunity to provide suggestions and additional ideas. By participating in active learning, attendees will engage with the material on a deeper level, ensuring they can implement what they learn at their own institutions.   



Erin Culbertson, Senior Consultant, Campbell and Co.

As a Senior Consultant, Erin Culbertson brings 15 years of development experience to her work at Campbell & Company. She believes that through careful evaluation and planning, organizations can inspire and partner with philanthropic funders to change lives. Prior to joining the firm, Erin led Seattle Academy’s successful $35 million capital campaign. An engaging and strategic leader, she relies on her foundational training in prospect research to deliver data-driven strategies for clients. Erin is an expert in balancing the art and science of fundraising. With a knack for building realistic systems that get the job done, she is a collaborator who can partner with you and your stakeholders to bring your vision to life.


Sarah Babb, Associate Consultant, Communications

Sarah came to Campbell & Company after finishing an MA in religious ethics and philosophy at the University of Chicago. During her time as a graduate student, she was both inspired and challenged by the difficulty of communicating complex concepts to others in useful and meaningful ways. While she is fascinated by people and their relationships—both to ideas and to one another—Sarah is interested in finding practical and purposeful ways to engage diverse audiences in focused and transformative conversations.




Session Two: Setting Expectations: A Development Director’s Secret Weapon

Presented by: Frederic “Rick” Happy, Principal & Managing Director, Katlyn Torgerson, Corporate Vice President, and Bob Weston, Senior Consultant, CCS Fundraising

Parents are often our best major gift prospects, but they don’t always understand the importance of philanthropy that goes above and beyond their tuition payments. In some cases, this is because of a lack of communication, miscommunication, or misunderstanding. In others, it is the result of different cultural approaches to and assumptions about financing education. In this session, we will explore how respectfully setting and communicating expectations can create shared understanding that increases fundraising results and improves the experience for everyone involved.


Learning Outcomes

  • Attendees will be able to identify the two most important stages in the arc of parent engagement to set expectations with families at their school.
  • Attendees will develop new strategies and language for respectfully communicating expectations of giving above and beyond paying tuition.
  • Attendees will begin to build their intercultural competence by developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes to better navigate interactions with families who come from cultures different from their own.



Frederic “Rick” Happy, Principal & Managing Director, CCS Fundraising

Rick joined CCS in 1986 and has direct responsibility for operations in the western United States and Canada. Rick has provided professional counsel to numerous educational, arts, cultural, healthcare, civic, environmental, and religious institutions, directing over 100 capital campaigns which have raised a combined total exceeding $2 billion. Rick’s expertise includes capital campaign consulting and management; endowment fundraising; feasibility and planning design and implementation; public relations; foundation and corporate giving; major gift solicitation; and pledge redemption. In his years of consulting, Rick has provided strategic advice and counsel for dozens of independent schools.


Katlyn Torgerson, Corporate Vice President, CCS Fundraising

Katlyn joined CCS in 2011 and leads the firm’s Seattle office. During her tenure, she has partnered with organizations across nonprofit sectors to raise over $150 million in capital and programmatic funding. Her expertise includes capital campaign strategy and management; major giving; annual and alumni giving; development staffing; donor stewardship; and board and volunteer management. As a former classroom teacher, Katlyn is passionate about education and has worked with schools, educational nonprofits and universities.


Bob Weston, Senior Consultant, CCS Fundraising

Bob brings to CCS 30 years of independent school experience and expertise as an educator, administrator and fundraiser. Over the span of his career, Bob has held several senior administrative positions, and worked extensively on hiring and recruiting faculty, collaborating on institutional strategic planning, and directing annual, major gifts, and capital campaign fundraising programs. In his most recent role as Associate Head for External Affairs at St. George’s School, Bob directed the communications, alumni relations, and development offices, while also serving as the school’s chief fundraiser, raising over $35 million dollars and growing the annual fund from $2.3 million to nearly $2.8 million dollars during the school’s capital campaign. An experienced fundraiser and school administrator, Bob has a deep knowledge of independent schools’ culture, programs, and fundraising needs.



NWAIS Attendees

Early Bird (By December 12, 2019): $155
Regular (After December 12, 2019): $185


Non-NWAIS Attendees (anytime): $220


Your registration must be complete and payment must be postmarked or received by the appropriate deadline to be eligible for the early bird discount.

• For online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by deadline date.

• Online registrations paid by credit card must be completed by 11:59pm on the deadline date.




Hotel Murano (Tacoma, WA)

A Forbes four-star rated hotel in downtown Tacoma located adjacent to the Tacoma convention center and steps from the city’s best museums and restaurants. With a world-class art collection, delicious cuisine, full service spa, and beautiful meeting rooms and event space, NWAIS encourages you to relax, spend the night, and enjoy this lovely location.

NWAIS has secured a special rate of $135.00 per night for single and double occupancy.

Please make your reservation by December 27, 2019

Reserve Your Room Online

Or Call Reservations at 253-591-4145 or 877-986-8083. Ask for “NWAIS Development Workshop ” to ensure you receive the discounted room rate.   

Cancellation Policy
Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by January 16, 2020 are eligible for a refund after a $25 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after January 16, 2020 are ineligible for any refund.


NWAIS Is Going Paperless.
All program materials will be provided electronically.

If there are pre-event materials, they will be sent to you via email about a week prior to the event. Please bring a internet connected device, download the materials in advance or print out the digital materials and bring them with you. We will not have hard-copy packets for attendees on-site.


Attendees Will Be Eligible For 5 Clock Hours And / Or STARS Credits

Attendees from NWAIS member schools receive clock hours and STARS free of charge. For those not affiliated with a member school, there is a $10 processing fee for Clock Hours and for STARS Credits. The original clock hours form or your STARS certificate will be mailed back to you for your records. If you need to petition another agency for credits or you would like a certificate for your files, NWAIS is happy to provide one upon request at no charge.


NWAIS May Help Cover Travel Costs

The NWAIS travel reimbursement policy is designed to reimburse candidate and accredited member schools for some travel costs. This policy applies to a school’s total travel expenses (not the cost of rooms and meals), no matter how many people the school sends to the workshop. If your school spends more than $150 dollars on travel for this event and is traveling a distance greater than 250 miles you will be reimbursed a percentage of your expenses. Click here for more details




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