Dan Krause Bio
Founder & President
At a Glance
GraceWorks Founder and President Daniel (“Dan”) Krause has served Christian non-profits his entire professional life, over four decades. Since 2006 he has worked exclusively with private elementary and secondary schools, only Christian – usually Protestant. Krause’s professional accomplishments fit into five major categories: Marketing, Tuition and Financial Aid Solutions, Surveys & Research, Software Solutions, and Fund Development.
Christian School Marketing
From 2006 to 2022, Krause has personally worked with approximately 160 exclusively Christian schools through onsite seminars with ongoing coaching. Between 75% and 80% of these clients increased in enrollment or tuition income – typically both. This includes his work during the 2008-2013 time period, after the Great Recession when research experts estimated that private schools lost up to one-third of their enrollments.
A representative sample of these long-term coaching clients include: Loma Linda Academy (CA), Columbia Christian (Portland), Advent (Boca Raton), Central Christian (Redmond, OR), Christ & Immanuel Lutheran (Albuquerque), CrossLife Christian (Pflugerville, TX), Desert Christian (Lancaster, CA), Dublin Christian (Dublin, NH), East Linn Christian (Lebanon, OR), Hillcrest Christian (Thousand Oaks, CA), First Assembly Christian (Cordova, TN), Heritage Christian (Mechanicsburg, PA), Illinois Lutheran (Crete, IL), Immanuel Christian (El Paso), Immanuel Christian (Ridgecrest, CA), Kingsway Christian (Orrville, OH), Lake Arrowhead Christian, Lifegate Christian (Omaha), Lincoln Christian (NE), Lutheran High North and South (St. Louis), Martin Lutheran (Joplin, MO), Middletown Christian (Franklin, OH), Oconee Christian (Seneca, SC), Our Savior’s Lutheran (St. Petersburg, FL), Pine Harbor Christian Academy (Hastings, MN), Redeemer Lutheran (Salt Lake City), Sioux Falls Lutheran, St. John’s Lutheran (Waltz, MI), Summit Christian (San Antonia), King’s (Mohrsville, PA), United Christian (Newport, VT), Valley Christian (Missoula), Valley Lutheran (Cedar Falls), Vandalia Christian (Greensboro, NC), West Hills Christian (Portland, OR), Sacred Journey Academy (Alexandria, MN), Zion Classical Christian (Hastings, NE).
In addition, Krause has conducted standalone onsite seminars at other Christian schools, most notably The Rock in Gainesville, FL, and Sherwood Christian (Albany, GA). He has spoken at numerous national and regional Christian School conferences, including ACSI, LEA, LCMS, WELS, ACE, BJ Press, PSI, and SDA.
Krause is the lead author of Marketing Christian Schools: The Definitive Guide. First published in 2006, this 625-page detailed manual was purchased by over 2,100 Christian schools. Krause also developed GraceWorks’ marketing seminar, Lifting Off, Soaring Ahead, and has written well over 250 polished articles related to Christian school marketing, along with about 100 recorded trainings.
Krause’s approach to growing Christian schools is described by clients as Biblical, pragmatically detailed, and research-based. Importantly, his approach is multi-faceted and balanced between six areas: retention, closing more leads, generating more leads, effective tuition and financial aid, visioning/branding, and program quality. He views ALL these marketing aspects as Christian ministry.
A significant reason why Krause views all aspects of marketing as a ministry flows from the influence of his Master’s Degree in Church Growth and Leadership from the School of World Missions at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena (Magna cum laude, 1993). His own experience at Grace Lutheran School, Fargo, ND, was also helpful. He went there as an elementary student and, at age 13, served as a part-time janitor, where his main duties were cleaning the bathrooms. (Dan has never forgotten the lessons of humble beginnings.)
Dan’s father served on Grace Lutheran’s school board and once told his highly impressionable 10-year-old son that his teachers made so little salary that they qualified for, and used, food stamps. Decades later, Krause stumbled on a doctoral dissertation years later by Kurt Taylor, which confirmed that Dan’s teachers were in fact the lowest-paid teachers in the entire LCMS school system in 1970.
Krause has passionately fought hard to increase Christian school teacher salaries throughout North America. This determination drove him to develop the strongest possible tuition and financial aid solutions – Biblically, practically, ministry-wise, and business-wise.
Tuition and Financial Aid Solutions
Carefully thought through, most tuition & financial solutions are in fact both Biblical and practical, both good ministry and good business. These principles, ideas, and strategies were forged through roughly 16,000 hours of give and take with Christian school leaders, in training and coaching calls, helping their schools grow one by one.
These ground-breaking tuition and financial aid principles and strategies for K-12 Christian schools aim towards four basic goals: (1) To increase overall economic and racial diversity in K-12 Christian schools, (2) Maximize tuition income and overall enrollment more fairly and Biblically, and (3) Provide a practical means for ongoing accountability for the #1 income source for Christian schools – net tuition income, (4) Provide a fair and livable wage for Christian school teachers and staff.
Through wise financial counsel and careful management of change dynamics, Krause has saved numerous schools with long-term financial viability problems. A representative sample includes the following: Billings Christian (2008), The Rock (2010), Kingsway Christian (Orrville, OH – 2015), Grace Christian (2017 – Merrick, NY [included a mid-year tuition increase]), and Advent Lutheran (Boca Raton – 2017).
Krause has helped numerous schools navigate necessary large tuition increases. A few examples include Davidson Academy (Nashville – 2011), Columbia Christian (Portland – 2022), and Lincoln Christian (2014). At a wrap-up debrief for Lincoln Christian, retiring Head of School Mark Wilson noted: “Financially, we are better off than we have ever been. But what I like most of all about Lincoln Christian is that we have achieved diversity.”
Krause has led numerous efforts to eliminate all (or most) automatic discounts – a typical outcome for schools that engage GraceWorks. (Staff discounts are a possible exception.) A notable example would be Central Christian (Redmond, OR – 2012), who came to see the elimination of automatic discounts as a moral and biblical imperative. In one year, all automatic discounts – over $400,000 total – were eliminated. While need-based financial aid increased somewhat, the overall savings allowed Central Christian to give each of the 28 full-time staff a $10,000 raise!
Other representative examples of eliminating hundreds of thousands in automatic discounts with Krause’s counsel include Springfield Christian (2016 – net positive over $200,000), Kingsway Christian (2017-Orrville, OH – added 40 students while eliminating all discounts in the same year), Lake Arrowhead (2019-added 33 students the same year over $400,000 in automatic discounts were dropped.)
Krause has achieved these results through his leadership and change dynamics training at Fuller Seminary (four directly related classes), his strategic/activator/thinker aptitudes (Gallup Strength Finder), and spiritual gifting (leadership, teaching, faith). With undergraduate majors in sociology and psychology (Concordia, Seward, NE, Summa cum laude), Krause is convinced that change efforts like this must manage the emotional aspects first and foremost.
Before the formation of GraceWorks in 2000, Krause served as a CFO (The Mustard Seed, Pasadena), and studied accounting for one year at the University of North Dakota, until he came to his senses (really, accepted the Lord’s gracious call into full-time ministry). For Lutheran readers, Krause notes he has untangled so many unified budgets that he feels qualified for some sort of early (Lutheran) sainthood.
Surveys & Research
Over 800 Christian schools, with 147,000+ respondents, have taken a GraceWorks school survey. Krause developed all versions of these surveys and oversaw the development of all norming and scoring technology. In addition, Krause has debriefed Christian school leaders on the results of these surveys for 15 years and counting. Since many of these are multiple debriefings with different groups, Krause has debriefed some version of a GraceWorks survey at least 1,700 times.
With partnering help from his former Ph.D. program professor, Dr. Dick Carpenter, Krause has recently compiled the overall findings of the first 143,000 respondents into comprehensive findings and recommendations. (This effort was funded in part by the Northern California Conference of the SDA.)
This was one of three research projects at a doctoral dissertation level. The other two were major studies for the Central Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists (683 pages), and the Northern California Conference of the SDA (253 pages). In re-analyzing the Northern California Conference data for her own doctoral dissertation, Dr. Berit Von Pohle concluded that Krause’s work was “remarkably accurate.”
In what he considers the toughest intellectual challenge of his entire life, Krause recently led the team that normed GraceWorks’ survey results for over 216 internal and external demographic variable possibilities, an exhaustive effort. This work made possible the Executive Graphical Summary Report, a precisely accurate “apples to apples” comparison of program elements and overall satisfaction results for all Christian schools in the United States and Canada. It is his personal goal that GraceWorks new Christian School Comprehensive Survey (CSCS) will be the finest and most helpful instrument for Christian school satisfaction surveys in North America.
GraceWorks’ surveys are enthusiastically recommended by notable Christian school luminaries, including Jim McKenzie of The Rock, and Gene Frost, formerly of Wheaton Academy.
Krause is embarking on a new research effort to analyze over 10,000 pages of comments with a text analysis program, to ensure that the best possible questions are asked on the CSCS.
Krause’s qualifications for this research include one year into the Ph.D. program for Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. At the time, this program was the most statistical of all educational Ph.D. programs in Colorado. In addition, Krause is an intensely driven truth-seeker. A pre-hire personnel evaluation by Dr. Lynn Walker, a management psychologist in St. Louis, noted that Krause “was in the top 2 percent in intelligence in the United States.”
Former GraceWorks consultant, Dr. Ron Harris, once quipped that Dan Krause is “a rarely-found mix of warm inter-personal qualities combined with highly technical abilities … with the singular strength of great perseverance.” Consequently, Dan has gravitated towards and persevered to the completion of many complex technical solutions that solve significant practical professional problems.
In his spaghetti-code programming days, Krause hacked his way through an Excel VBA program that exquisitely personalized direct mail based on relationship, donor status, giving interests, and giving amounts. Using this software, Krause had the record for single letter best direct mail results at three separate ministries (New Hope International, AD 2000 and Beyond, The Mustard Seed.)
The real programmers in Dan’s life are glad he gave up programming long ago. However, Krause has been the chief product designer for two separate fund development packages (e.g. DonorGold) two separate Christian school marketing programs (e.g. AdmitGold), and GraceWorks’ own survey scoring software for the CSCS, under continuous development since 2006 with 20,000+ lines of code.
Most notable of the marketing software solutions is the Enrollment Pro Dashboard (EPD), an easy-to-use spreadsheet format tool that provides real-time assessment of four of the six lead metrics needed to maximize enrollment growth and tuition income. This includes real-time comparison with other Christian schools of the same denomination and size.
Krause has led five data conversion projects in his fund development days and is NOT looking to do another one. However, this experience has given him significant insight and wisdom on how databases should serve clients – and not vice versa.
From 1988 to 2003, Krause focused exclusively on fund development. This included both school and church capital campaigns, roughly half each for a total of 21. He has served in the typical fund development capacities of full-time lead staff, campaign director (volunteer and paid), and chief counsel. Total gifts attributed to these efforts are north of $21 million, which included one planned gift expectancy of over $6 million.
As a leader in fund development, Krause increased annual results by 46% (over $240,000) at New Hope International (1997). Krause raised over $600,000 for the GCOWE conference in Seoul, South Korea in 8 months, starting with a database of names on one sheet of paper (1999).
With the conviction that writing is the most mature form of thinking, Krause has written white papers on planned giving (22 pages), Major gift work for Christian schools (65 pages), and a how-to manual for church capital campaigns (212 pages).
As a key leader in the Los Angeles Chapter of NSFRE from 1988 to 1993, Krause pioneered the first fundraising conference for ethnic fundraising, a sell-out event with about 20 people turned away at the door. He organized the pre-luncheon trainings for two years and left the Chapter as Vice President for Professional Education in 1993, having successfully co-coordinated the 1993 training day for the entire chapter, the second largest chapter in North America behind New York City.
In addition to learning much about fund development through all these training experiences, Krause was mentored most notably by Paul Edwards and Rev. Bill McConkey of McConkey-Johnston International. Paul was one of three co-directors of Sanford’s Centennial campaign, the first New Testament effort to achieve a goal of over $1 billion. Bill is an enthusiastic supporter and friend of Dan, appreciative of all that Krause has done to help K-12 Christian schools over the years.
Professional – Conclusion
Many have helped GraceWorks achieve the results outlined here – all great results require a team. Consultants have come and gone over the years – both they and Dan are better and wiser through the experience of working together. Many more will follow in their footsteps.
Krause continues to hold fast to the idea that God is raising a generation of leaders of the caliber of Daniel, Paul, and Moses. His support of K-12 Christian schools is in support of this vision, in the conviction that many of these schools are already raising up Daniels. He will continue to work towards this “Daniel Generation” for the rest of his life, with several new projects towards this goal forthcoming.
Dan is married to Tammy. They live in Smithville, Missouri, as close to the lake as they could afford. A blended family, they have 10 children between them, all grown. Five of these are adopted, and one is in heaven.
Dan and Tammy are active members of the Paradise United Methodist Church, which is about 150 feet from their home. Paradise UMC is a traditional Methodist Church, and typically one of their great Sunday-morning hymns is playing inside Dan’s head as he goes about his days during the week.
Dan coordinates the aMen (men’s) service group at the church, and Tammy is the leader of the church’s women’s group – the high-flying Paradise Rubies. Dan is developing the material for and leading, an evangelistic Bible study for the neighborhood entitled “Endings,” which will start in early 2023.
Tammy is an ESL teacher of many years who is pursuing a professional ministry degree and certification through a nearby United Methodist Seminary. Dan has fantasies of finishing his doctorate at Midwest Baptist Seminary but currently has far too many other projects.
Besides all his professional reading related to education and marketing, Dan likes to read broadly in economics, social trends, politics, psychology, theology, and the future. His other spare time pursuit is making the Krause home a fun-to-visit grandkid magnet.