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Search Begins for Marketing Pro to Help Boost School District Revenue, Enrollment

The School Board gave the OK on a hiring process and job description for the newly created position of director of development and marketing, which would focus on fundraising and boosting resident enrollment.

With available revenue diminishing from year-to-year to the district, school officials took the first step in hiring a professional to help identify new sources of income Tuesday night.

The School Board gave the OK on a hiring process and job description for the newly created position of director of development and marketing. The position will focus on fundraising and boosting enrollment in the district.

It now allows the district to start fielding applicants for the salaried position, budgeted at $75,000. The district's goal is to have the position start generating additional revenue in the first year, and fully funding itself by year two.

A director of marketing and development would assess short and long term funding, and develop and implement a marketing strategy to achieve a 1.5 percent contribution to the overall general education fund by 2016. That 1.5 percent equates to roughly $300,000 in the budget. 

“We’ve always had the idea that this position would help generate money for the district,” said board member Ruth Treisman.

Additionally, the marketing professional would help boost enrollment by crafting a marketing story that defines Shorewood’s strengths versus other districts.

Shorewood Supporters of Excellence in Education is a fundraising outlet for the district that has drawn comparisons to what this position will do. However, the position will not diminish what SEED has done, but will work closely with SEED, parent-teacher organizations and other boosters in generating more fundraising opportunities for the district.

"We’re counting on the expertise to help provide that coordination across multiple entities," said Superintendent Martin Lexmond.

The professional would work directly with Lexmond in an effort to become more responsive to the needs of other fundraising groups. Currently, the groups are on their own islands and there is no unification. This would help solve that problem, according to the board.

“This is not a ‘dialing-for-dollars’ person, that’s not the only thing,” said board member David Cobb.

Officials will soon post the position on appropriate professional organization sites, followed by indentifying the interview panel, screening applicants, finalizing interview questions, conducting interviews and finally making a recommendation to the board. The interview panel will consist of 10 members.

The board hopes to have the position filled in the next three to four months.

Joe Peterlin October 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
This from a professional fundraiser: 'The average fundraiser's tenure at any given institution is 18 months. It is very challenging to sustain increased revenue sources, while justifying the cost of the salaried administrator, support staff, advertising, printing and mailing.' The Shorewood School District is currently fundraising approximately $200,000 per year, from all of the various volunteer fundraising entities, or about 1% of the budget. Moving from the current 1% to the goal of 1.5%, or $300,000 by 2016, is an increase of $100,000 in funds raised. This is a questionable goal. A $75,000 salary, plus benefits (approximately $20,000), plus support staff (not currently budgeted), plus advertising, printing and postage (also, not currently budgeted) will put the start-up cost of this program in the neighborhood of $200,000 annually. With the district's goal that the position start generating additional revenue in the first year, and fully funding itself by year two, one wonders if the residents of the district are assenting with their eyes wide open. This program will need to raise an additional $200,000, for a district total of $400,000 (2% of current budget), just to break even. Beyond that, it will take several more years of increases to cover the start-up losses. The reality is that perhaps by 2020, the Department of Marketing and Development may become a net, budget positive for the district, assuming it is administered with accountability and public scrutiny.
N. Peske October 25, 2012 at 07:43 PM
First, whose opinion is this? It doesn't carry much weight without a name and title attachd to it. Second, there are a lot of assumptions in it. Advertising, printing, and postage costs, for example--we're expecting this person to use social media and to interface with existing groups who already have outreach to alumni and to people in the community. No support staff is budgeted; why would you assume the person couldn't possibly do the job without an assistant? It would be helpful if the individual commented on the ACTUAL budget and what are typical expenses for fundraisers working for school districts similar to ours with an alumni association, social media presence, a private fundraising group, etc.
Sunrocket October 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I'll do it for $30,000.00 - really? Do we really need this position? Access the weak points of the school and your won't have people flocking to private schools. Shorewoods reputation use to stand on it's own and everyone I know that has gone to shorewood is smart as a whip but there is also a stigma attached to the school.
N. Peske October 26, 2012 at 01:04 AM
By the way, this position was in the school budget and there were many public meetings about the budget earlier this year. What's news here is that we're making progress toward hiring someone.

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