IDPE US Study Tour 2017 (April 25th - 28th)

Diary from a Chairman’s Waltz — The Prelude

As Chairman of the IDPE, I am delighted to be part of our inaugural US Study Tour.

Representatives from seven UK independent schools will make the trip across the Atlantic to explore and learn from the operations of seven outstanding development offices in four jam-packed days.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Graham-Pelton Consulting for their hard work and partnership in organising this excellent event.

I know that I will return home re-energised, highly inspired, and armed with ideas to put into practice…
Our host schools — from anti-clockwise 1) Peck School; 2) Peddie School; 3) Rye Country Day School; 4) Newark Academy; 5) Nightingale-Bamford School; 6) St Benedict’s Prepoaratory; 7) Delbarton School

We are all looking forward to meeting like-minded development professionals from these leading schools situated in New Jersey and New York. Each day is structured so that we can share experiences, generate ideas and challenge our professional assumptions regarding what is best practice.


I must have over a hundred questions to pose to each school…

Having been on a similar study tour of US universities about ten years ago, I know that I will return home re-energised, highly inspired and armed with initiatives that I will put into practice at the Girls’ Day School Trust. I also look forward to sharing my daily reflections and key takeaways with you throughout the tour.


To have the head space to think creatively about the challenges in my day job is a luxury that I will embrace with great enthusiasm. I know I’ll need to manage my expectations, but I must have over a hundred strategic/operational questions that I’d like to pose to each school.

Here are three just for starters:

  • What are Head teachers, governing boards etc. doing to help grow and sustain successful philanthropy within their institutions?
  • How did each development office respond to the global economic downturn and resulting threats to generating philanthropic income?
  • What are US fundraisers doing differently (to the UK) to engage fee paying parents with bursary fundraising programmes?
Please do not hesitate to feed me additional questions to ask the schools throughout the week…

So please stay tuned to my daily blog updates and, as the tour progresses, I very much hope you’ll be part of the conversation.

Let the countdown begin…

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