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Apra-IL Blog

You Should Write a Blog About That!

As part of our goal to share industry and career-related information to colleagues in the fundraising development field, we encourage you to contact us if you would like to contribute to our blog. 

Current 2019 Blog Series:

Goal Setting Tools for 2020

Completed in 2018/2019: 

Love Letters to PD

Match Makers 2.0

Motivations of Leaders

Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition

True Life: A Day in Prospect Development

50 Shades of Prospect Development

Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ...

Apra-IL Presents: Notes on Gratefulness

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  • Mon, May 18, 2020 12:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Apra-IL recognizes and acknowledges the heaviness and anxiety that many are experiencing due to the pandemic, and is starting this new series entitled, The Prospect Development Professional’s Haven, as a calming and reflective safe space. We are providing a space for you to anonymously share questions and reflections during these difficult times, pertaining to your work and role because many can relate. In times like this, you have to know that you are never alone.

    Disclaimer: The Apra-IL writer is not a licensed therapist or counselor, therefore, please seek professional guidance beyond this series.

    Question: Working from home and social distancing has been hard, and a new normal for me. I’ve struggled with conducting research while knowing that many people are losing their jobs and income every day. So, how do I juggle with this reality and what is happening around me, while analyzing a millionaire’s multiple properties and total compensation?

    An Answer: There is no right way to juggle these experiences as a prospect researcher (during an 8-hour shift) and be a human being who cares about social inequalities. An option that many have shared is that aside from socially distancing, they have also decreased the amount of news and negative and/or sad stories they consume, just to maintain a leveled- approach to the pandemic and its effects on their community.

    But it's hard to know that people are struggling all at the same time, its overwhelming. Therefore, how you are thinking of it should shift from wanting to “juggle” to “acceptance”. Allow yourself to accept that this is what the world is experiencing right now, and that this is your job. 

    Sometimes, juggling two extremes can put unwarranted pressure on someone to be in two mental spaces at once – when you drop one you feel sad for being more engaged in another. Accept that in your new normal, there are people who are still millionaires, you are still a researcher who has great work to do, and your world and community is hurting but it will regain itself slowly. You can do both in this time, and by accepting you are alleviating the pressure of caring about one more than the other. 

    Let’s try this, close your eyes and imagine yourself literally juggling two oranges from one hand to another. It's hard right? This is what you are mentally experiencing. Now, put both oranges down on a table. And imagine yourself looking at the two oranges equally sitting on a flat surface – this is acceptance. 

    Try to move away from juggling to acceptance, and see how that makes you feel. 

    Thank you for sharing your valid feelings with The Prospect Development Professional’s Haven.


    If you want to share a question or reflection at The Prospect Development Professional’s Haven, please email us at apraillinois@gmail.com 



  • Fri, March 27, 2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s March! Apra-IL is celebrating Research Pride Month, Women’s History Month, and March Madness. We hope that you join us in the festivities as we test how well everyone addresses prospect research - specific scenarios. An online poll posted on Twitter and LinkedIn pose the questions, and here are the results and a review of the answers. We hope that you can participate, and thank you for engaging with us on all forums, as we learn from each other. 

    For the third and final question of this series, the correct answer is “It depends” and those who chose “True” and “False” are also correct.

    The question is asking whether discovery is the MOST important stage for research, and it is not. There is no fundraising stage that is more important than the other, in which research is most required. During discovery, if you discovered a prospect and then conducted capacity research, this would be proactive research. Another fair perspective is that research is most important in the cultivation stage because the gift officer is getting to know the prospect and needs to know the appropriate ask range for solicitation.

    Research is important in all of the fundraising stages because it is meant to advice a gift officer as the prospect journeys through the stages and becomes a donor.

    Thank you for participating and share your thoughts and experiences with us on this question and the others!


  • Fri, March 20, 2020 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s March! Apra-IL is celebrating Research Pride Month, Women’s History Month, and March Madness. We hope that you join us in the festivities as we test how well everyone addresses prospect research - specific scenarios. An online poll posted on Twitter and LinkedIn pose the questions, and here are the results and a review of the answers. We hope that you can participate, and thank you for engaging with us on all forums, as we learn from each other. 

    For the second question, we are in agreement that if a development officer was concerned about a prospect’s capacity range and felt that it was incorrect, you should ask why and review the range and research. 

    There are times in which a development officer may not agree with a rating. This is when you as the researcher and expert shine. It is important to explain your decision, and actively listen to the fundraiser. Take note of their viewpoint(s) and then review it in relation to your understanding of the prospect’s financial capabilities to give to your organization. 

    Never disregard the development officer because this is meant to be a partnership full of meaningful conversations, teamwork, and mission-driven endeavors. 

    Thank you for participating, and onward to question #3!


  • Mon, March 16, 2020 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    All,

     

    The Apra-IL board has decided to cancel the April 22nd Spring Symposium. In making this decision, we sought information from health experts and our government officials, both local and national. We seek to approach this issue with an eye toward protecting all members of our community, with particular attention to those who are most vulnerable.

     

    We will be sending out regular emails to our contact list with information about online events (both free and those with a small registration fee) hosted by other Apra chapters. If you know of an upcoming event you’d like shared, please email us at apraillinois@gmail.com to add the event to our calendar and future emails.

     

    The Apra-IL board is actively planning for online webinars to be available this spring as well. For previously recorded webinars, go to the Webinars section of the Apra-IL site (accessible only to those with active memberships).

     

    Because your membership sustains our organization, we’d ask that you consider renewing your Apra-IL membership this month as many of you likely planned to do in conjunction with registration for our spring event. Year-long membership costs $40 and gives you access to:

    • Discounts on events
    • Free event attendance for member appreciation parties, happy hour, webinars, and more
    • The Apra-IL chapter membership directory
    • Monthly member emails which contain information about upcoming chapter and regional Prospect Development events, blog content, and job postings
    • A curated links library with links for:
      • The Career Center – information on how to write the perfect resume, job hunt, etc
      • Research Resources
      • Relevant blogs
      • Apra-IL Salon content – targeted information on recent topics of interest including cryptocurrency and valuing art
    • Webinar recordings
    • Job postings (available through following our social media: Twitter and LinkedIn)
    • Yearly scholarships for professional development funds

     

    We wish you all health and peace during this tough time. Please let us know if you have resources to offer other members, need assistance getting in touch with others in our industry, or any other help we can offer you.

     

    The Apra-IL Board

     

    Kathryn Thomas, President

    Peter Kotowski, Vice President

    Kara Mehrkens, Treasurer

    Amy Tibbs, Secretary

    Julia Dimick, Director of Marketing

    Teresa Liu, Director of Membership


  • Fri, March 13, 2020 9:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s March! Apra-IL is celebrating Research Pride Month, Women’s History Month, and March Madness. We hope that you join us in the festivities as we test how well everyone addresses prospect research - specific scenarios. An online poll posted on Twitter and LinkedIn pose the questions, and here are the results and a review of the answers. We hope that you can participate, and thank you for engaging with us on all forums, as we learn from each other. 

    And the results for the first question are in! The correct answer was real estate.

    Philanthropy can be understood as a means of giving and showing generosity, generally displayed monetarily. So, in this case, a family foundation is an asset established to give away money through grants or contributions to nonprofits by a family or in honor of a family member. The act of giving to a community organization shows that you are philanthropic. Real estate (also referred to by some as real property) is actually a wealth indicator, and is a sign of a person’s ability to invest in an asset and gain equity. Therefore, real estate, does not equate to someone’s inclination to want to give and be generous. It is, however, part of the overall analysis of someone’s capacity to give, which includes philanthropic giving and wealth indicators. 

    Thank you for participating, and onward to question #2!


  • Thu, February 13, 2020 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February is known as the month of love, and the celebration of African American history and culture. So, with love in our hearts here are few lists of diverse prospects (People of Color, women and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community) as you prospect this month for potential donors, board members, and volunteers. Diversity is the evidence of difference, and the outside the box of “normal”. And inclusion matters because it creates opportunity and representation. By adding diverse prospects to your donor base, you are making room at the table.


    This month (and hopefully for the rest of the year and beyond), we hope that you make room for love and diversity at your organization: 

    10 Black Female Venture Capitalists

    50 Female Entrepreneurs Everyone Should Know

    The 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Corporate America

    The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

    21 influential black professionals in tech

    5 Asian women in tech

    26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Media, and Beyond   

    20 Successful Companies Founded or Owned by Black Entrepreneurs


  • Tue, January 07, 2020 9:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Goal Setting Tools 2020

    4 functional tools and applications that will help you get organized and set goals in 2020


    Happy New Year, All!

    As a new year begins and everyone strives to set goals and become more organized as a means of having a productive new year, here are four functional tools and applications that can set you up for success in 2020.



    Yes, Pinterest!  It is a great way to organize your thoughts and goals – visually. The visual aspect of Pinterest may intrigue visual learners who enjoy seeing their ideas. The application is free and user-friendly. The uses of Pinterest are endless as you have the ability to create a vision board for your year, on-the-go.



    A Journal is still a reliable tool for 2020. It is a resource that has come in handy for all those who enjoy note-taking and idea-jotting. There are different types of journals that can help you be even more productive - a planner, for example. Planners have sections or pages for your daily, weekly and monthly goals. A place where you can see your own plans outlined, and enjoy the swift movement of checking them off as accomplished. A planner and journal can also work as spaces for reflection and celebration of written ideas.



    If you prefer typing up your lists, notes, ideas, and goals, then here are three application options that are great for notes, audio, and organizing information:

    Evernote is a great note-taking application that keeps you organized on-the-go, and on all devices. It also has different organizational features that make its users feel productive and have the ability to manage their tasks with ease. Evernote offers its products based on paid plans and a free basic plan.

    If Evernote does not appeal to you, a similar application is Microsoft OneNote, which is free and can be used on all devices. However, the devices must have Microsoft Office or access to the OneNote website. OneNote allows you to manage notes, audio, PDFs, images, and more – OneNote can be “your digital notebook.”

    Asana is a great project management tool that guides you through your tasks. You can set up alerts/reminders for when a task needs to be completed and it helps you prioritize your to-do list based on High to Low and stage of completion.



    The always reliable post-it notes (sometimes referred to as sticky notes). This is a true and dependable way of making reminders and lists. Always trust in the post-it notes, large or small, because they will help you with your tasks.

  • Wed, December 11, 2019 7:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the year comes to a close, this new series will highlight what our members have been most grateful for in this industry in 2019. We look forward to hearing about rock star co-workers, tools without which we would be lost, and experiences that will stay with us for years.

    Apra-IL would like to express its gratefulness for its members who continually push us to provide better programming, introduce new ways to network, and find the best catering and happy hour spots around!

    ~

    This week's notes are provided by Kara Mehrkens, Associate Director for Advancement Research at Illinois Wesleyan University.


    I'm grateful for a supervisor who loves to play with data. I think I'd even call him a data geek!

    I'm also appreciative of all of the resources I have at work. This includes subscriptions, conferences, Apra sources, list servs, etc. There are so many ways to not only do prospect research but also to connect with colleagues.

    Finally, I'm most grateful for walking out at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment. It's good to work hard but it's even better to go home.



  • Tue, December 03, 2019 7:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the year comes to a close, this new series will highlight what our members have been most grateful for in this industry in 2019. We look forward to hearing about rock star co-workers, tools without which we would be lost, and experiences that will stay with us for years.

    Apra-IL would like to express its gratefulness for its members who continually push us to provide better programming, introduce new ways to network, and find the best catering and happy hour spots around!

    ~

    This week's notes are provided by Amy Tibbs, Development Research Associate at the National Audubon Society and Apra-IL Secretary.


    I am grateful that we can do our work from anywhere! Combined with an organization that supports flexible work arrangements, I am able to strike a healthy work/life balance because I can access the resources and databases and public information I need from any location with the internet.

    There’s something so comforting to me that I work in a field where most of us are supporting “Good Work” – being at nonprofits, our work helps donors connect with ways to support: environmental conservation and the fight against climate change; programs and students in higher education; medical research and patient care; providing food for the hungry; supporting our communities; and so much more! Being a cog in the machine to improve the world around me feels pretty good at the end of the day.

    I’m always grateful for the prospect research community. Whether people come to the field with a librarian, business, programming, or data analysis background or if they just landed here somehow (like a lot of us), the tie that binds us is that this group is smart and generous with their time and knowledge, and more often than not, we can find someone to help us with CRM insights, tips to navigate tricky software, finding tough-to-locate information on a prospect, or just simple brainstorming on how to communicate our findings effectively. And, of course, to commiserate on the challenges we all face every day.



  • Fri, November 22, 2019 7:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the year comes to a close, this new series will highlight what our members have been most grateful for in this industry in 2019. We look forward to hearing about rock star co-workers, tools without which we would be lost, and experiences that will stay with us for years.

    Apra-IL would like to express its gratefulness for its members who continually push us to provide better programming, introduce new ways to network, and find the best catering and happy hour spots around!

    ~

    This week's notes are provided by Joan Ogwumike, Prospect Research Associate at the Obama Foundation and blogger.


    I am grateful for community - the Apra community has shown me so much support since I joined the industry. In 2019, I am grateful to have met a wonderful group of researchers that have shown me what it truly means to be part of a community full of support, respect, kindness, and friendship.  

    For research when it is used not just as information but as a strategic tool.

    And for the new year, which will bring so many new possibilities.  




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