What is Our Culture of Philanthropy at SMUS and Why Does it Matter?

Adrienne Davidson

A simple answer might be, “Because together we are stronger.”

This week, our Annual Appeal launched to the entire SMUS family, that is, everyone involved with or connected to our school. It is our largest direct fundraising communique and we use it every year to reach out to all parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni, staff, faculty and friends of the school to ask for their support for SMUS. Why?

Research shows a direct link between organizational culture and organizational success; similarly, you will see the same correlation in the most successful independent schools between philanthropic culture and long-term sustainability of the school. On campus with our students we stress the importance of building strong community – those key relationships that are fostered between students, teachers and parents. In a broader sense I would also include our network of alumni, parents of alumni and our grandparents in the fabric that makes a strong and connected SMUS. We share a commitment to learning and to lifelong skills development. We are proud of our association to St. Michaels University School, and we want our students to make a difference in the world.

Every year we ‘appeal’ to you to make the school one of your philanthropic priorities. The Annual Appeal is an important method by which we ask you to tangibly demonstrate support for these shared commitments; a way to invest, give back, make even better a school which rightfully stands among the top independent schools in this country.

Those organizations that I have come across in my fundraising career who do NOT demonstrate a culture of philanthropy tend also to seem rather embarrassed about asking for donations to their cause. I have never felt that way; personally I was privileged to learn early the joy of giving, and the impact that my (sometimes limited) financial support could have. I learned, even more importantly, that my engagement could be powerful when combined with other like-minded donors who felt strongly about a given cause. Did you know that one key metric by which successful independent schools are measured in North America is the success of their fundraising programs and the degree of participation in them within their community?

You may have heard us state, along with every other independent school, that tuition alone does not cover the cost of teaching a child. This is true, and in order to retain our academic excellence and ability to give our students the resources they deserve, we must appeal to our community for added support. As donors, we all share a desire to impact change. I hope through the coming year that we will earn your trust and confidence and show you the impact of philanthropy at SMUS. If we can become a wholly committed community of supporters who volunteer, mentor and financially support our students, we will have even more reason to feel pride in who we are.

The theme of this year’s Annual Appeal is “Every Student. Every Opportunity.” Our overarching goal for this year’s fundraising is to ensure that “everyone of us” participates in the Appeal, to the very best of our ability. We sincerely hope that we can count on your support for building a strong culture of giving at our school.

Annual Appeal logoTo learn more about what the Annual Appeal supports and the impact of your giving, please visit the ‘Giving’ section of our website at www.smus.ca/giving or please feel free to reach out to me personally at [email protected] or by telephone at 250-370-6112.

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Adrienne Davidson
Adrienne Davidson is Director of Advancement & Campaigns at St. Michaels University School

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