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VFES Staff Attend ADVIS Advancement Retreat Conference

Click here to view the May 2024 VFES Newsletter

On Friday, May 3rd, Kate Mullen, Development, and Sheba Simms and Darcie Gore, Marketing and Communications, attended the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools’ (ADVIS) Advancement Retreat at Villanova Inn in Wayne.  The retreat was designed in collaboration with Enrollment Management Association (EMA) to enhance collaboration through the integration of admission, marketing and communications, and development teams.  The morning keynote presentation by David Smith and Kathryn Van Sickle was titled, “Building a Sustainable Major Gifts Program: Why It Matters and How to Do It.”  David Smith is a Consultant at David Smith Consulting and has worked in a DoD role at several independent schools.  Kathryn Van Sickle is Director of Parent Gifts at Yale University.  The presentation provided techniques to help schools and administration collaborate to improve school fundraising.  The concurrent workshops included topics such as branding, historic gifts, enrollment and retention, public relations and crisis communications and included insights to help schools address common fiscal and communication issues. The afternoon session was led by Jim Daughdrill, National Director of Membership and Business Development at EMA, who spoke about how a strong relationship between the Head of School and Enrollment Manager fuels healthy enrollment.

The Development and Marketing and Communications departments are looking forward to infusing the information learned at this conference into VFES’ fundraising, communication and brand planning.  VFES has been an avid member of ADVIS for several years and the connections made through this and similar member organizations has helped VFES staff stay current on trends and best practices, as well as forge collaborative relationships throughout the metro-area.

For more information about ADVIS, visit