What’s Missing From Your Gala Preparation List: Board Talking Points

Your gala is coming up. All of your board of trustees (you hope) will be there. You’ve requested that they arrive early, mingle with the crowd during cocktails, approach new families, stand when the board chair calls their name during the address after dinner, and help start the bidding on the auction items. They’re all set. Or are they? Are they prepared to be the best brand ambassadors they can be?

Have you given your board a set of talking points?

Strengthen their conversations with a set of talking points that will reinforce the school’s brand, point out recent successes, and delineate future plans. They should be short, memorable tidbits, that will fuel their chats and turn small talk into reputation amplification.  Consider it a cheat sheet, if you will.

Here’s a starting point.

  • Brand messages. Your brand ambassadors with the highest office in the school should have these on the tip of their tongue.
  • Recent proof points. Provide data on recent school successes such as enrollment numbers, fundraising goals met, community service hours, financial aid awarded, etc. — stats that would make anyone proud.
  • Strategic plan. Provide a short list of the most important initiatives and the status of each.
  • Campaign. If you’re in one or launching one, give your board a quick way of explaining the need, the goals, and how and why every gift counts.
  • How to get involved. If the board member senses someone wants to know how to volunteer, make sure they know the point person to contact.
  • How to solve a problem. If a parent brings up a problem, your board member should know which administrator the parent should contact.

So along with black ties, babysitters and nametags, make sure your board is ready for the Gala with talking points to make the evening more than about fundraising. The guests will leave with lighter pockets, but will also have a renewed sense of confidence and pride in the school that they chose for their children and their own talking points to spread to friends and family.


Note: Talking points aren’t just for Galas. They’re for 365 days of the year.

Liza Fisher Norman

Master Electrician at InspirED School Marketers

As principal of Turnaround Marketing Communications, I have worked with close to 100 schools on branding, marketing and communications. I noticed that many of our clients hit it out of the park when the brand was new, but a year or so later their focus was benched. I wondered what could I do to help. In a light bulb moment, InspirED School Marketers was born. It's a professional development site that provides brilliant ideas and brain food for independent and private school marketers. InspirED is free and accessible to all schools. We want to make your job easier. Join us. www.inspiredsm.com