Forty seats was the cap for the Stanley M. Herzog Foundation’s first training event this week—two-and-a-half days designed to help Christian school leaders and development directors improve their fundraising efforts.
Other than transportation to and from the event, all conference expenses, including dining and accommodations, were covered. The event was the first of two the foundation has planned for this year, and both sold out shortly after they were announced.
The foundation, which has a state-of-the-art training and office building under construction in Smithville, Missouri, did not wait to launch its first event until next spring, when the new building is expected to be completed. Instead, two ‘Donor Development Bootcamp’ events were planned for this month—the first in Dallas, Texas, and the second in Kansas City, Missouri, near the foundation’s headquarters.
Speaker and Christian school fundraising expert Zach Clark led most of the training with an engaging style and practical wisdom based on years of experience, encapsulated in a ‘workbook’ that each attendee used during the event.
Clark combines a humble, disarming approach with a willingness to sharply challenge the audience to immediately implement his principles—it’s called a ‘bootcamp’ for a reason!
At various points, under Clark’s direction, attendees could be found making phone calls to supporters or potential supporters of their schools, not to solicit donations (yet), but to thank them for donations or to schedule meetings to communicate the vision of the school.
Clark’s teaching was supplemented by one of his organization’s coaches, as well as a panel of ‘extraordinary givers’—successful entrepreneurs who have been significant donors to Christian education.
‘Seamless’, ‘amazing’, ‘encouraging’—attendees used a number of adjectives to describe the event which seemed to go off without a hitch. The first day, a half-day that began with registration, dinner, and an outing to Top Golf, was meant to treat guests and give them opportunities to get to know one another. The second and third days were dedicated to training, with plenty of snacks and premium catered meals to ‘fuel’ the fire.
Attendees came from all over—from Washington State and Southern California to Massachusetts and Mississippi, and many others from Texas and the Midwest.
Tanya Williams, the Headmaster of Courage Christian Academy, who is preparing to launch her school next year in San Diego, said,
I am learning so much about developing relationships with donors and having partners. It has been so encouraging. I have made so many good connections and got phone numbers—people, we’re going to encourage each other. This thing is just building a strong network so that we can have successful Christian schools. And I am loving it!
Jeff Schapansky, a principal from Christian Heritage School in Tyler, Texas, spoke of the ‘strategic’ training and encouragement of working with other leaders:
Thank you Herzog Foundation for investing into the teachers and families of Christian Heritage School. We are thankful for the opportunity to receive strategic training from Zach Clark and enjoyed getting to know fellow school leaders from across the country at this week’s Donor Development Bootcamp.
Once the Herzog Foundation’s training facility is completed next year, dozens of events will be hosted there throughout the year, offering specific training for the many facets of Christian education.