Advancement Learn & Lead Retreat 2020: A Time for Pivoting

Posted on Aug 24, 2020 by Jon Dize - Funding the Mission

For the past several years, The Lutheran Schools Partnership has organized an advancement retreat for area Lutheran churches and schools. By using the term “Advancement” we mean marketing, customer service, enrollment, and fundraising. We bring in experts from around the country. See some of your previous sessions here and here. As usual, our sister organization, The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, provided 50% discounts to attend for staff and volunteers from schools and churches in its family of schools.

After an overwhelming majority of our paid attendees told us they wanted to keep the event in-person and not 100% virtual, we pivoted and moved the event to Parkview Field after our first three locations were unable to accommodate us and maintain the required level of social distancing. We also added the option to watch our two days of presentations online and record them to watch later, and some attendees did choose that option and we plan to keep a blend of in-person and virtual viewing in future years.

For June 2020, we focused on a number of topics:

  • 15 Ways to Improve your Special Events (featuring our own local expert Mogan David, with a special bonus update on event pivoting in the age of COVID)
  • Start an Estate Giving Effort Tomorrow (our first speaker was unable to attend due to COVID restrictions, so Eileen from the LCMS Foundation in Ohio did a fantastic job as our fill-in)
  • Customer Service the Sweetwater Sound Way (this presentation alone is worth the cost of attending/purchasing the video.) We are currently assessing how we can expand the Sweetwater presentation to a larger group within our 19 schools!
  • How to Hire and Manage a Fundraising Staffer in our Lutheran Schools. (thanks, Mark Muehl, for keeping Jesus in the mix!)
  • We also featured two local donors to discuss their views on philanthropy and why they give.

Those that attended were glad we were able to pivot and keep the retreat. If you are interested in purchasing access to any of the recordings for your school or church, let us know at