Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

Your Board’s Sphere of Influence

All of the independent school and non-profit boards of trustees that I’ve worked with over the years understand their fiduciary role. Fewer understand (or are enthusiastic about) their fundraising role.

And sometimes, even fewer embrace the most important role of all—the role that makes everything else possible.

Their ambassadorial role.



Savvy boards actively promote and advance the school’s mission, programs, and human resources. They recognize their role in creating partnerships and opportunities that will increase enrollment and funding.

Even savvier boards demonstrate that their school is a community asset. They understand the school’s success will be increasingly linked to demonstrating a partnership with their community and region.

The savviest boards do all of the above intentionally, and systematically. They assess, monitor, and manage their sphere of influence as a Board.



In preparation for a summer retreat for the board of a northern California independent school, we gathered all the board members’ contacts in several strategic areas. We looked at other boards they were on, affiliations with schools, colleges, media, youth organizations, corporations, and government, and a host of other “community influencers.”

The results—the Board’s Sphere of Influence—was breathtaking. Extensive.

It was an “Aha!” moment. Connections started firing, partnership ideas were born. Potential funders and families were identified. The board jumped to a new level. Trustees who weren’t involved, got involved. Leaders emerged.

Your Board’s sphere of influence, when applied strategically and systematically, benefits your students as it advances your mission.

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