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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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  • Fri, September 11, 2020 2:42 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.

    5 ways to find moments of peace while working from home


    Take real screen breaks

    I have always taken the suggestion “take a screen break,” as “ok, time to stop looking at my computer, and stare at my cellphone (another screen).” But I believe we all know that “take a screen break,” actually means to take a technology break, which is hard to do nowadays. So, try to read a book during your lunch break instead of scrolling on your laptop, go for a walk or start journaling – all can really help you take a much-needed moment to yourself.


    Add YOU to your priorities

    If you are a caretaker of kids, family member(s), or disgruntled pets that are becoming restless by your consistent presence at home – make sure that you are taking care of yourself while upholding your priorities. When creating your to-do list, add time for yourself. In a day full of virtual schooling, lunch and dinner preps, taking the dogs out for their walks, and somehow getting your work done, there has to be time for your peace of mind. It can happen when it is penciled onto a sticky note, and/or set as a calendar reminder. Yoga at 6PM every Tuesday through Thursday, yes, the calendar reminders help. 


    Try something new and test the waters

    How many of us have been using the same research tools for years, and still don’t know the function of certain tabs or know the extent a tool can actually best help our work? Well, it is time to push buttons and check out random tabs, or it could be time to change your research template or time to pull some data reports that question your typical process. This form of peace is based on challenging yourself, and sometimes a mental exercise can be a distraction and exhilarating. Maybe, this is what you need as you work from home.


    Daydream, just for a second

    Why is daydreaming still seen as something negative? Instead of stressing over the email that you still need to write, take some time to let your imagination flow or write-out your grocery list. The energy and words needed to write your email will be there when you return to it.

    Why are we not appreciating the mental break? Can we flip our negative connotations with daydreaming and see it as a moment of reflection?


    Catch up with a coworker, like old times

    Having virtual tea, coffee, or lunch with a coworker is a great way to reset and have a pleasant conversation, similar to what you would experience as you walk into the office kitchen to wait on the microwave or get some coffee. Proactively, setting up virtual chats with coworkers to catch on life, is a reactive means to relationship building. It may not bring you peace in the serenity sense of the word, but it will remind you of a simpler time in the world when you could just engage with a coworker.



    Thank you for allowing these valid feelings and experiences to be shared within 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, August 21, 2020 3:17 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.

    Now more than ever, we need community.


    As we gear up for the first ever virtual Apra conference (August 24 – 27, 2020), we can all agree that our new normal has been difficult. And if you have been dealing with everything alone, then consider this the time for community. We could rely on our own understanding of our industry; we could easily ignore the emails and posts on social media by others in prospect development; and we could silently experience the stress and anxiety of furloughs, job loss, and increased work and meetings. We could also choose an alternative, and remember what it means to belong in a safe space, a safe world, or at least a safe world of data experts with similar skills and interests.

    Remember that you have a community, bigger and stronger as a whole, that can support you, individually. 

    We are all experiencing similar ramifications of this pandemic and economic depression, to some degree. The effects transcend race, gender, age, and ethnicity, and the prospect development community knows this all too well as fundraising has been difficult and many experts are unemployed. We understand.

    For many, reality set in once motivation drew low in April, forecasts for the extent of the pandemic twisted and bent mental aptitudes each day as things become more and more uncertain. We were experiencing the same emotions.

    My question to you reader is how have you been dealing with admitting what you’re experiencing? 

    Exhaustion is real. We understand.

    Your community has remained right here.

    Many have found ways to keep learning, to keep asking questions, to share their experiences; and most importantly there has been an increase in normalizing the betterment of mental health by talking about it, sharing stories of good and bad work experiences, seeking therapy, and ways to better oneself physically, mentally and emotionally.  

    If there has ever been a takeaway that needs to be pronounced, it is that you are not alone. Reach out to one another, and remember your community.

    Thank you for allowing these valid feelings and experiences to be shared within 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, July 17, 2020 2:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    A candid conversation with Beth



    Hi Beth, can you share with our readers where you believe your heart and mind is right now?

    Name an emotion and I've felt it over the past few months. Worried, scared, angry, optimistic, hopeful, to name just a few. Right now, I'm feeling grateful and my heart and mind are in a good place considering all the changes over the past couple of months (being furloughed, long distance move, and starting a new job). I'm grateful for my fantastic new job opportunity and for our prospect development community which has been so supportive. I have received emails, texts, and dm's checking in, and those gestures have made a huge difference in keeping my spirits high. 

    Thank you for mentioning the prospect development community, can you share why community matters (you state that their outreach made a huge difference in keeping your spirits high) can you share more on that?

    Community matters because it’s important to have a connection. That connection could be familial, professional, spiritual, etc. but it’s that connection or being a part of something that contributes to our overall sense of wellbeing. Our prospect development community on Twitter, for example, is so interesting because I’ve only met a handful of them in person. That said, I know they’re there when I’m frustrated about our work and I also know they’re there when we’re going through something like COVID and it’s affecting all of us in some way. Even when the “there” is virtual, it’s still so helpful!

    Where would you say your heart and mind were as you waited to find out your furlough status?

    Some days I was sure I would be furloughed and other days, I had a glimmer of hope that the work I was doing was important enough to not be furloughed. We knew a week ahead of time that furloughs were coming but we had no idea how many staff would be affected or what criteria would be used to determine who would be impacted. That was a really long week. That level of worry is exhausting and it affects every aspect of your life. 

    As many are going through this exact situation, what can you say matters?

    2020 has been a rough year for everyone and we have all had very different experiences related to COVID-19 and its effects on our industry, our communities, and our families. I am a planner and I am a worrier so the past 5-6 months have been really tough for me. What I've realized is that I spend a lot of time worrying about things I don't have any control over and asking for help is OK.  What matters to me right now is understanding that it's alright to not have a plan and to recognize when I should ask for help - that I don't have to do it all myself. 

    I believe you just spoke to so many of us who are planners and worriers, to break away from this ingrained piece of us would be difficult, how are you doing it? Is this a process or an overnight shift?

    Oh, it’s definitely a process and one that I have to consciously work on! My therapist has helped me with ways to counter my worrisome thoughts when I start to go down that “what if” rabbit hole and it takes practice to do that, but it’s worth it. One of things I learned is to counter a negative thought with a positive one. This helps me think about the different ways a situation could go and options I need to consider. For example, when I was worrying with thoughts that “my house wouldn’t sell”, I flipped it and asked, “what if the house sells,” that helped me think about what I’ll need to do when it sells.

    Ever since the quarantine started many have shared advice on working from home, and ways to stay busy and productive aside from their work; what did you do to keep yourself whole, sane, and happy?

    For me, once I learned I was furloughed, I made a to do list and came up with a schedule (albeit a not very structured one) for the weekdays, which was really helpful. I had been working full time for 20+ years so to learn on a Thursday that I was no longer working was a really odd and scary feeling. I kept thinking, "what am I going to do?" That's where the to do list and schedule came in. They helped me structure my day in a way that helped me stay on track and feel like I had some control over the day. My to do list was everything from clean out the pantry to exercising to reviewing my resume and even what Netflix shows I wanted to watch. When I made the schedule, I wanted to start the day doing something that made me happy which was drinking coffee and reading. (I have read a lot over the past few months and if you need any book recommendations, let me know!)  

    Do you have any advice for people experiencing the fear of being furloughed?

    In talking to friends and colleagues about furloughs, I have learned that organizations have handled their furloughs differently. For example, some organizations continue to keep in touch with their furloughed employees; they are part of regular meetings and they are provided updates on their furlough status. This was not my experience, so my advice is to think about questions to ask your supervisor if you are furloughed. For example, how will the organization communicate with those who are furloughed? Will you have access to your files/emails/intranet (your org's HR site, for example)? If you're going to file for unemployment, it wouldn't hurt to research what you will need to apply in your state so you have an idea of what to prepare. In some cases, it can take weeks for the benefits to kick in, so filing sooner rather than later is a good idea. 

    Now is also a good time to review your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile and make sure it's up to date. If you decide to start a job search, it's good to have these documents in their best shape. And, if you start applying for positions, reach out to your references to confirm they're still willing to be a reference and give them a heads up if you learn an organization is contacting your references. If you use your work email for Apra and other professional listservs, make sure you update it to your personal email to ensure you continue to get important information.

    And, finally, practice self-care and utilize the Apra community! Self-care looks different for everyone but it's so important! The Apra community is helpful and compassionate and we want to see our colleagues succeed. 


    On July 1, 2020, Beth shared the joyous news of her new role and life in Maine. 


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


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



  • Thu, June 18, 2020 9:58 AM | 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: My development team has been having a lot of conversations around race, equity, and inclusivity. I’ve enjoyed a lot of these conversations but I’ve noticed that there are coworkers who are not really listening. And based on everything going in the world I think us, self-proclaimed allies and leaders, need to listen. 

    Can you guide me on how to have a conversation with my coworkers around listening?

    An Answer: Recognizing the importance of listening, especially in these tough times, is really amazing. And wanting to point it out and start a conversation around it with Apra-IL readers, and your coworkers is important and brave. So, first, we must thank you for bringing it to the forefront.

    Now, listening is simple because we all hear things, but effective listening is transformative. And I believe that is what you feel like your coworkers aren’t experiencing. Transformative listening happens when you hear something, reflect, ask corresponding questions, build on the topic, participate in being fully present (mind, body, and soul), and acknowledge the truths (whether you agree with them or not). 

    The conversations that your team is having around race, equity, and inclusivity is not something everyone can handle, even allies. This is why it’s also important because it’s uncomfortable, it means one must question their ethics and internalized racism, and it also requires a lot of learning, unlearning and specifically listening. No one wants to listen to what makes them wiggle in their seats or fidget, no one wants to be uncomfortable. But people should listen to what can make them become better, and the best way to do that is to commit to the process – commit to opening up (breathe in deeply, exhale to relax the shoulders) and say yes to transformative listening. 

    Share this with your coworkers privately over a virtual tea/coffee chat, and see if they’re ready to transform with you. 

    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 

  • 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


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