The Challenge

The American School of Milan (ASM), an independent, college preparatory, day school in Milan, Italy, recognized the need to strengthen its fundraising and engagement efforts. The School sought to increase alumni outreach and to ensure that its five-year-old advancement program was operating effectively and efficiently. And, because many students move abroad after graduation, ASM was experiencing difficulty sustaining philanthropic relationships with alumni. The School wanted to establish programs and metrics to guide donor cultivation and deepen engagement among alumni living around the globe.

Our Approach

GG+A performed a high-level diagnostic of the School’s advancement program and offered recommendations for furthering ASM’s goals. Through a combination of on-site interviews with key stakeholders and an analysis of the policies, procedures, budgets, goals, and performance of ASM’s advancement program, we developed recommendations that drew on our experience with other leading independent schools and deep knowledge of industry best practices. Namely, GG+A proposed structural and messaging changes designed to:

  • Encourage a culture of philanthropy by educating ASM alumni, students, and parents on the important role donors play in advancing the School
  • Capitalize on the great fondness and strong affinity students and alumni expressed for each other and for ASM
  • Increase the time and resources dedicated to advancement
  • Focus fundraising efforts on individuals and areas likely to yield the greatest results

Results

By focusing on the School’s Fund For Excellence, ASM increased engagement and support from all segments of the community:

  • The School launched a Read-A-Thon Campaign and far exceeded the goal of 17% parent participation in 2017 by achieving 29% parent participation in 2015/2016.
  • The creation of an AD HOC Campaign increased Faculty and Staff participation in the Fund For Excellence to 29%.
  • The first ASM Community Gala increased parental engagement through tickets and auction items and increased corporate engagement through sponsorships.

Additionally, online promotion and in-house advertising provide continuous updates and unite the community to fundraise for one common purpose: supporting ASM’s Fund For Excellence.

To facilitate alumni connection, the School built a more extensive alumni database and launched an alumni app. Through photo sharing and articles directed at alumni, the School is enhancing its social media presence. The development of an alumni platform and programs to encourage return visits are serving to further engage the School’s global alumni.