Each Client Is Unique

Our strength is our ability to approach the challenges of each client individually and strategically.

With more than 150 years of combined experience as college and university officers, advancement professionals and consultants, we bring the breadth of our experience and practical problem-solving to each assignment.

Our Services

Launching a campaign is like stepping out on a high wire without a net. There can be great risk. However, the uncertainty and worry can be overcome with the assistance of experienced campaign counsel to insure that you and your institution are properly prepared, adequately staffed and budgeted, well-trained and possess the tools needed to succeed.

Washburn & McGoldrick will team with you and your colleagues to insure that you have answered key questions affirmatively before you step out onto that wire.

We will help you build confidence in your campaign strategy and operating plan, your leadership, your donor relationships, your communications strategies and your staff’s skills.

If a feasibility study is needed, we are prepared to support you. Feasibility studies serve several key purposes at the start of a campaign. They acquire critical understanding of the knowledge and attitude of key potential donors regarding the institution’s vision and plans for a campaign. They announce to the donor population that a campaign is imminent and provide direct marketing to those who will be among the first asked to participate. They can reveal unforeseen obstacles that may impede campaign progress. And, they uncover the philanthropic potential of critical lead donors to inform goal-setting.

If you would like to discuss campaign planning or how a feasibility study might help your institution, contact us.

Do you wrestle to understand the appropriate metrics that define program success? Do you suspect that your program could improve with greater understanding of best practices? Are you seeking support for developing the most effective program strategies before launching an ambitious campaign?

A program review by Washburn & McGoldrick will help you understand the significant metrics that define success for the best advancement programs and implement the most effective strategies for success. Our experienced professionals will examine the staffing, structure, activities, processes, budget and results of your program and will provide you with a plain spoken, practical report with critical action steps that will enable you to improve your program and achieve your goals.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how a program review might help your institution.

Washburn & McGoldrick’s Intensives—no-nonsense seminars and one-on-one coaching—provides the industry’s leading training and mentoring to advance your team’s skills, confidence, and results.  Intensives is the most effective training and coaching for gift officers, managers, deans and academics from the most experienced mentors in educational fundraising

Each of our trainers is a nationally recognized expert who have led college or university teams and have a proven track record in leading, mentoring, and direct fundraising. The personalized training we provide is affordable, effective, and dynamic.

Successful advancement organizations provide continuing professional development programs for their staff. Programs that review key philanthropic principles and build and sharpen skills energize and enhance the effectiveness of staff.

With the demand on every program to succeed, we can help you provide a strong, continuing professional development program that will help you assure success.

We offer a variety of programs on campaigning, major gift development, planned giving, donor relations and stewardship, development for deans, and many other topics.

Go to our Intensives page for more details or contact us about your professional development and training needs.

Powerful and effective advancement programs are built on strategies that define clear, compelling priorities, engage prospects with powerful messages, and secure gifts that promise to create positive impact on the institution and its people. Robust communication creates the environment for imaginative development programs and bold campaigns that succeed.

Washburn & McGoldrick consulting services bring more than 120 years of campus based experience to help you plan creative and practical strategies. We promise provocative ideas and professional experience to help you achieve your most ambitious goals.

If you would like to discuss strategic advancement planning for your institution, contact us.

Planned giving is a powerful tool that enhances an organization’s ability to reach out to individuals who care so much about the institution that they want to gift a substantial part of their assets. Planned gifts also enable committed donors to extend their philanthropy beyond their lives and to commit to greater institutional needs. A development officer who is fluent in the language of planned giving is far more effective with donors.

We specialize in making the formidable topics of planned giving accessible and understandable to both professionals and prospective donors. Our one-day Intensives programs on “Financial Literacy and Donor Life Stages” and “Planned Giving Essentials” will provide new skills and energy to every Planned Giving and Major Gift team.

We also provide programs for alumni and friends who want to know more about how gift planning techniques can help them support to their institutions financially while retaining income during their life. We understand how potential donors think about these big decisions and can help them understand how to enter into knowledgeable conversations with the planned giving professional at their institution.

For more information on specialized planned giving counsel, program reviews and/or training for staff and volunteers, contact us.

With more than 150 years of combined experience as senior campus administrators and more than 70 years as consultants to more than 180 educational institutions, we’ve gained considerable perspective on the issues that presidents and heads face in their development roles and in their roles as chief executive.

Over the years, we’ve helped presidents and heads become better at managing their development responsibilities, dealing with difficult campus issues, working with their board leadership, and many other issues.

Contact us to talk about any issue where we can help directly or indirectly.

Trustees and volunteers who succeed in development activities believe in the mission, vision and goals of the institution and speak about those elements with passion and confidence. Interactive training programs and workshops are effective tools that prepare them to be effective representing your institution.

Our reputation has been built on our ability as effective teachers. Our team has taught at almost every major CASE conference and at many conferences sponsored by the Association of Governing Boards, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the National Council on Planned Giving (NCPG) and many others. We can tailor a training program or a series of programs to meet your needs.

Go to our Intensives page or contact us to discuss how we can help with your retreat program, training needs or how we can facilitate the discussions you want to occur at your meeting.

The secret to successful planning retreats is definition. The more clearly retreat leaders can articulate their anticipated outcomes, the stronger the retreat agenda. Properly conceived agendas–combined with experienced facilitation–lead to more positive and long-lasting outcomes.

A second key to a successful retreat or planning meeting is an experienced facilitator who can insure that all participants are engaged, all voices are heard, and the goals of the meeting are achieved.

Our consulting team is experienced in working with boards, senior officers and advancement teams to develop stronger working relationships, common goals and specific agreement on the processes needed to become more effective.

Contact us to discuss how we can help with your retreat program or training needs, or how we can facilitate the discussions you want to occur at your meeting.

A Chief Advancement Officer transition can be an opportunity for your advancement program. During your search for new leadership, WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK will provide interim leadership and counsel, ensuring your advancement program and campaign continue to meet critical objectives and goals. Our interim leadership will also help to ensure that:

  • The advancement team receives support and guidance on any opportunities or challenges they encounter
  • Key prospect meetings and solicitations stay on track including providing strategy for the campus CEO and high-level volunteers
  • The campus CEO has materials and reports needed to accomplish work with the advancement committee and board of trustees and is well prepared for all meetings
  • The advancement team and campus CEO are well prepared for the incoming chief advancement officer so that the new chief advancement officer can begin quickly and act swiftly providing a smooth transition and continues success.

Being laser-focused on your top donors is critical to fundraising success. We know that high net worth prospect strategy requires significant, thoughtful and very deliberate attention in a relationship-centric environment.  Is your institution eager to develop or formalize a Principal Gifts Program?

The team at WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK will work with you to assess your current frontline fundraising program including your staffing, best practices and prospect pool and pipeline management. We will then map out a Principal Gifts strategy and partner with you to develop a Principal Gifts program that meets the needs of your institution.

Contact us to get started on this exciting process.

Strategic Planning

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.  For any strategic plan to work it needs broad input and socialization.  It must be a living document that is understood and endorsed at the highest levels and referenced continually over the following three to five years in order for it to be successful.  In the end, the process will be more important than the plan itself.  We use the following three phase approach over a six-month time period:

  • Phase I (months 1 and 2) – Preparation and Discovery: research, assessment, and assimilation
  • Phase II (months 3 and 4) – Collaboration and Creation: creation of a strategic planning task force and conducting meetings and retreats for creating the strategic plan
  • Phase III (months 5 and 6) – Testing and Delivery: focus groups, completion of the strategic plan, and coaching for the early stages of socialization

Alumni Relations Program Review

Is my Alumni Relations program any good?  How do I compare to my peers?  Are we using industry best practices?  Are we investing the appropriate amount of resources?   We will conduct a comprehensive, 24-point review and assessment of your Alumni Relations program including:  staffing structure, resource allocation, engagement metrics, volunteer management, communications, alignment with internal partners, and more.   The resulting product is a final report of observations and recommendations that will serve as a roadmap to improve your alumni engagement program and achieve measurable and positive results.

Volunteer Management

  • Fact #1 – “A good board should have their noses in and their fingers out.”
  • Fact #2 – “You get the board you deserve.”

The line between governance and management can become fuzzy at times.  Every volunteer leader brings their own expectations to the role and without clear roles and operating guidelines, volunteers – and sometimes entire boards – can go rogue.  Other times boards are complacent and are perfectly fine operating with the status quo.  Our volunteer management consulting is designed to redirect and revive volunteer leaders in support of your mission.

Alumni Engagement Metrics

We spend all this time and money trying to engage our alumni… so what?  To what end?  What are the outcomes?   Measuring the impact of an alumni relations program is essential.  Following industry best practices, we will help you create a metrics framework, develop internal business processes for tracking and coding engagement data in your CRM, create standardized engagement reports, build a weighted alumni engagement scoring model, and analyze engagement behaviors (event attendance, volunteerism, communications, and digital outreach) and their correlation to giving.

In today’s highly competitive higher education development marketplace, the ability to understand and effectively use data analytics has become critical than. Unearthing the story behind the data is the goal of our data analytics team. Tapping into these data can help institutions deepen their relationships with donors, funders, alumni, and community partners.

Top Donor Surveys

WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK has been using data analytics for more than a decade to assess the attitudes and philanthropy of 4,600 top donors from 69 institutions.

Alumni Surveys

We have conducted customized surveys of more than 400,000 alumni. These alumni surveys provide an in-depth assessment of alumni affinity, communications, engagement, volunteering, reunions, and philanthropic interest. We identify connections between engagement, affinity, and philanthropy across different alumni segments defined by class year, geography, donor status, gender, or any segment of interest to the institution.

Staff Surveys

Our semiannual Advancement Moving Forward survey of advancement professionals tracks important issues within advancement and alumni relations. We have addressed confidence, hybrid/remote work, DEIBJ, the challenges of meeting annual goals, and integrative engagement models.

Institutional Benchmarking

WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK uses a variety of external data sources to provide insights into how our clients compared to their peers. We collaborate with our clients to identify comparative and aspirational peers and then provide a summary of how their institution compares to those peers across multiple metrics.

Donor Gift Migration

This type of data research provides advancement leaders with insights into a macro view of how donors are shifting in their giving patterns and level of support over time. We can identify “money left on the table” and individuals whose giving is moving beyond expectations.

Through this work, we’ve seen firsthand how the colleges, universities, and private secondary schools that truly listen to their data have been able to achieve and frequently exceed their development goals as well as address the challenges of engagement and philanthropy.

If you are ready to unlock your “data story,” contact us.

We’re direct, sensible, and accessible. And, we’re fun to work with!