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Articles > School Advancement Q&A > Q & A With Russell Davidson of Haileybury School

Q & A With Russell Davidson of Haileybury School

How this Director of Development and Alumni Relations is keeping up community engagement even during challenging times.
1. What's your role at Haileybury? What does a typical day look like for you?
My role is Director of Development and Alumni Relations. I am responsible for the overall fundraising strategies of the school (scholarships, building and library) and the alumni program for over 16,000 members. Haileybury is a large school of over 4,500 students in Melbourne across four campuses. We also have a campus in Beijing (Haileybury International School, Tianjin) and one in Darwin (Haileybury Rendall School). My role crosses into these campuses as well.

A typical day will see me working closely with my team working hard to engage our donor and alumni communities. This may involve anything from event preparation, Council member meetings, developing social media content, creating marketing strategies, dealing with our network of Clubs or meeting new and prospective donors/bequestors.  Additionally, I aim to connect personally with as many alumni as I can each day.

I also thoroughly enjoy walking through the school, meeting up with students and teachers. Visibility is important as it allows us to continue to tell the story of our work and update community members on latest developments.
2. What activities do you believe are the best return on investment for Haileybury? 
Continual personalised engagement works well for us. Ensuring that we are regularly communicating with our alumni through segmented written e-newsletters, phone calls to older alumni, promoting businesses run by alumni members and regular updates for our donors are all critical in ensuring that we continue to achieve high engagement amongst our members of all ages.
3. With a number of recent local environmental disasters and the current global health crisis, considering Haileybury's global operations how have these impacted your activities in development and alumni team? Or are you planning to change programs in light of these events?
The current times are devastating for our community members and we are there to assist. Times such as these provide an opportunity for us all to re-evaluate and become creative with the initiatives we are delivering. One thing we won’t change is the need to continually engage with our community. More and more now we will connect and communicate. We will continue to check in on members and ensure that we encourage community members to support each other.
4. What tools do you think are invaluable for a Development/Advancement office? Why?
 No doubt, great staff. Staff who are friendly, outgoing and have a genuine interest for people and a love of the organisation they represent.
5. What are your goals for the school year? What challenges do you face?
Things have just become a little different! We now have a renewed focus and are setting our goals a little differently to those envisioned at the commencement of the year. We started the year thinking about our upcoming Giving Day and how we would achieve our goal of attracting over 700 donors. We are now focussing solely on our community – providing them with a level of support and reassurance in these tough times. We are supporting our members who have small businesses as well as those who are elderly who require care. Additionally, we are ensuring that we provide our community with information on how Haileybury is coping with COVID-19, including the impressive manner in which we are providing online learning to over 4000 students.
6. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do when you're not working?
I have been married for 20 very happy years to my wife, Samone, who is also a teacher and Head of Pre Senior Girls (Year 9) at Haileybury. We have three children, Charlotte (16), Michaela (14) and Ned (10). All are heavily invested in their outside sporting interests and our community. I enjoy travelling, spending time at the beach, coaching sporting teams and AFL umpires and watching our kids participate in their chosen activities.

ToucanTech is a community database software for schools and companies to manage their alumni, marketing, development and careers activities. Learn how you can use ToucanTech software to engage your community online by requesting a demo here. 

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