A New Path to Branding for the Small School [Podcast]

Jill Goodman

Jill Goodman

InspirED knows of a number of private school marketing administrators who, in 2018, struck out on their own as independent consultants to other schools. Jill Goodman is one of them, and we thought it would be interesting to school marketers and others to learn about her decision and how she has developed her consulting business.

For 9 years, Jill was Development Director and Marketing Coordinator at The GreenMount School, a K-8 coed day school with an enrollment of 120 in Baltimore, MD where, among other successes, she quadrupled the school’s annual giving. In 2017, Jill founded Jill Goodman Consulting, a firm that “specializes in fundraising, brand assessment, and strategic direction for young, small, or emerging non-profit organizations helping them to harness the combination of smart methodology, creativity, and compelling messaging that is essential to stand out from the competition.”

In this episode of the Sparkcast, Jill talks about why and how she took the leap to consulting, how her experience as a school administrator informs her role as consultant, and the challenges small schools face.

Jill details how she helps her clients establish their brand through Appreciative Inquiry — a method Liza and Rob suggested to Jill years ago as an affordable alternative to more expensive options for a small school. Jill believes AI is the perfect process for small schools that want to draw out the best the school has to offer.


Jill Quoted

 “Small schools have a variety of challenges: mostly staffing and time. So in order to create a new initiative, it will take a lot longer than it would in a larger school. Resources are often not available or not there.”

“Using volunteers is a key resource in small schools.”

“I love using volunteers for brand ambassadorship in the admissions program.”

“The four phases to Appreciative Inquiry are Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny. For most schools that want to do branding work, I have scaled back to use the Discovery phase.”

What You’ll Learn

  • How Jill learned what her aptitudes were when she was thinking of going out on her own.

  • How Jill’s experience having worked at a school influenced her thinking about independent schools as a consultant and vice versa.

  • How to get the marketing job done with a small budget and limited staff.

  • How to use a “Food for Thought” incentive to get faculty to help with blog content.

  • How to use volunteers to help you do your work.

  • What is Appreciative Inquiry and how can schools use it to understand its strengths and weaknesses to lead to your brand in a culture that is generally working.

  • 3 questions involved in Appreciative Inquiry.

  • Teachers have anxiety about marketing, so how can they become good marketers?

  • Program, delivery, philosophy:  are they in sync?

  • Is it ok to be aspirational in your marketing?

  • How progressive schools are at risk for communication issues.

  • What lightbulbs have gone off since Jill has gone out on her own.

Be sure to read Jill’s InspirED Juice Blog post on this topic, written a few years ago.


Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

Appreciative Inquiry

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