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LEAD690: Managing Public Awareness  
Competency Documentation

KEEP: Kids Educational Endowment and Scholarship Program

KEEP, or Kids Educational Endowment and Scholarship Program, is part of a 10 year capital campaign for the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I have been a member of the administrative board since 2001 and have served as the marketing chairperson. As such, I have written several articles for the Gleaner, a publication for the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Upper Columbia Conference. I have also overseen the writing of several other Gleaner articles. Additionally, I have written many bulletin inserts for the Sabbaths when the offering is designated specifically for KEEP. I have helped prepare a flyer to advertise KEEP and raise awareness of the project and its goals. I coordinated the production of a promotional video for KEEP at the beginning of the project.

Reflections:

What Biblical, moral, and financial principals support the concept of an endowment fund for Christian education? What principles of a competent leader and change agent have been followed throughout this project? What authorities are there on the subject of public relations and marketing whose advice, theory, and/or practice would be helpful to this project?

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6. Parents cling to this verse like a piranha to its prey, particularly when their children have strayed from the path in which they were raised. Many wise parents today still place a high priority on Christian education, believing that the moral and perhaps more important, spiritual training they seek to impart at home will be continued at school by dedicated, loving, Christian teachers. Biblically, we are called to teach our children God's precepts as we walk on our say, as we sit, as we go about our daily tasks. Christian education enables parents to effectively continue their foundational work throughout the school day. However, Christian education is not cheap, and the pocketbooks of many do not match their desire to "train up (their) child" in the manner they deem best. Here is where an endowment fund, such as the KEEP Scholarship, comes into play.

If we believe in Christian education and realize that some who desire to access this type of education for their children cannot afford to do so, what should be our response as people? As leaders? Peter Senge in The Dance of Change says "the task of finding ...resources is critically important, arduous beyond belief, and almost invisible to outsiders" (170). While his comments relate to business leaders finding resources for change, they can be applied to leaders generating finances for something as important as Christian education.

In order to raise the necessary funds to establish an endowment for Christian education, marketing and public relations must inform the potential donors (in this case, members of the Upper Columbia Conference) of the needs. "Establishing a sense of urgency if crucial to gaining needed cooperation," says Kotter (Leading Change, 38). In order to establish this sense of urgency, proper, effective communication must take place with the potential donors. For the KEEP Scholarship Program, this communication is in the form of stories in the monthly conference paper, bulletin inserts on the day of the special offerings, general letters, specific letters to potential donors, "awareness" events, and other forms of marketing. We have attempted to place in the hands of potential donors stories of people whose lives have been impacted through Christian education made possible by the donations of others. Susan Wanner writes about the powerful affect of the narrative in the area of education (On With the Story). The principles of learning found in this book can be applied to those who are finished with their formal education, such as our potential donors. We all like stories, and can learn from them throughout our lives. The stories we present in our KEEP Scholarship Program are meant to instill a sense of urgency in the readers and potential donors.

Posner quotes a study by Joanne Martin and Melanie Powers that demonstrates the "power of stories in fostering beliefs" (The Leadership Challenge, 226). When MBA students were given information in four different ways (stories alone, statistics alone, stories and statistics, and policy statements), the students who were given the story only believed the claim more than any other group. Perhaps this should tell us as leaders to focus our marketing and public relations efforts in the area of storytelling to make our point most effective.

A leader is a change agent. This change can involve people, ideas, beliefs, and practices. As a member of the KEEP board, I am seeking to be a transformational leader in these areas:

Transform people: Encourage PARENTS to see Adventist education as important; encourage DONARS (constituents of the Upper Columbia Conference) to see the need to support worthy students; encourage STUDENTS to believe an Adventist education is important and obtainable, even if their family does not have adequate funds to send them to an Adventist school.

Transform ideas: Present ideas at the board level: propose new ways of reaching people, raising funds, distributing scholarships, identifying needs, raising public awareness, etc., all aimed at raising a large amount of funds that will eventually TRANSFORM the current level of availability of Adventist education and allow more students to be able to afford it; present ideas to the public to change or focus their thinking on the importance of Adventist education.

Transform beliefs: Present poignant stories of worthy individuals for whom donor funds created a way for them to receive an Adventist education, and thereby make a difference in their lives; use these stories to change belief systems about the value of an Adventist education; demonstrate the growth of funds in order to help the constituents realize (believe) the potential of the completed endowment fund.

Transform practices: Market effectively so as to change individual's giving practices, enabling them to focus their dollars on the KEEP Scholarship program.

By working on all of these transformations, it is possible to change the culture of Adventist education from what appears to be the current mind set: The cost of Adventist education is out pricing the general public and creating an elitist situation where only the rich can afford to send their kids to Adventist schools, to a new and transformed paradigm: Adventist people BELIEVE so much in allowing any student who desires an Adventist education to be able to receive one, that the constituents have DONATED money to make that goal become a reality.

This would create a change in our sub-culture, and therefore meet the definitions of transformational change as stated in Burns' Leadership book (quoted in Wren, page 104).

For additional personal thoughts on leadership, see Reflection paper#1, Reflection paper #2, Reflection paper #3, and the Synthesis paper for LEAD638.

Documentation:

KEEP Promotional Video: Near the inception of the KEEP program, I was asked to be on the KEEP committee, and asked to chair the marketing subcommittee for KEEP. As part of this process, I coordinated a promotional video for KEEP, following the directives of the KEEP committee. We utilized a professional video production company located in Spokane, WA, to produce this short video, which was then sent to Upper Columbia Conference pastors with a cover letter asking them to show the video to their congregations prior to receiving the KEEP offering on a particular Sabbath.

KEEP Promotional Video
KEEP Promotional Video, Dial-up Connection

Gleaner articles: Throughout the years that I have been involved in the KEEP Scholarship program, I have been in charge of either writing or finding someone to write Gleaner articles and/or ads promoting the KEEP Scholarship program. Here are samples of those articles:

KEEP Bulletin Inserts: Each Sabbath that the offering will specifically go to KEEP, I was responsible for writing or asking someone to write a bulletin insert to promote the offering. Here are samples of those inserts. (Some of the stories correspond with the Gleaner article above, as "The rest of the story.")

KEEP board minutes: As a member of the KEEP Scholarship Committee (later renamed the KEEP Administrative Board), I attended meetings either face to face or via videoconferencing. Here are samples of the board minutes:

Verification: