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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:

Apra-IL Presents: Notes on Gratefulness

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 ...

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  • 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.  




  • Mon, November 18, 2019 7:18 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 Trent Nichols, Associate Director of Prospect Research and Management at Wheaton College.


    I’m grateful for the Prospect Development industry’s openness and transparency to share best practices and professional development in so many ways. This happens more formally at various national and chapter conferences, through the PRSPCT-L exchange, Apra online newsletter, and more informally through posting LinkedIn articles and white papers, Apra chapter networking, and ongoing communication among researchers via email, phone, and in person. I’ve been in this industry for 20 years and I still see this same esprit de corps present today as I did when I started.


    For new colleagues coming into the profession with eagerness and readiness to learn and absorb traditional and new paths in Prospect Development.


    And I am grateful for a field that provides new opportunities for learning and growth, while rooted in a philanthropic tradition.



  • Fri, November 08, 2019 7:38 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 Kathryn Thomas, Apra-IL Director of Membership & Marketing and Senior Prospect Identification Analyst at the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association.


     I am grateful for a building absolutely brimming with school spirit! It is a reminder every day why my team does the work they do with the intensity and focus we do it.

     

    This year, particularly, I am grateful for covered parking provided by my workplace. October snow is simply not my favorite thing.


    Finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Apra-IL board. It has gifted me with a broad network of colleagues and friends and I look forward to continuing that work in 2020!



  • Tue, October 29, 2019 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Kathryn Thomas

    Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions.


    Kathryn is a proud representative of Wisconsin here on the APRA-IL board as Director of Membership & Marketing. She has worked at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association since 2015; first in Prospect Research and now as the Senior Prospect Identification Analyst focused on proactive identification. Previously, she worked as a corporate archivist and librarian.

    1. What is the super power that you use often at work?

    I have the ability to organize anything. When I worked as a corporate archivist, this came in the form of physically organizing hundreds of boxes of photos, videos, and other items. As a prospect identification analyst, that means organizing accessible data on a person and distilling it into 3-5 sentences to help a Development Officer understand their connection to our organization.

    2. What is one thing Apra has done for you?

    Apra has provided me a broad network of like-minded, talented professionals who I can call on when in need – whether that’s asking for recommendations on vendors or wondering how to deal with an interpersonal situation in the office.

    3. If the annual Apra International conference could be anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be?

    Oh man – that’s a tricky one. I’ve always wanted to visit Singapore (my college roommate grew up there) and finding the time to go by myself has been difficult. I’d love to have a work-related reason (and funding) to travel there!

    4. How do you explain your role to people outside of Development?

    I tend to tell people I work in fundraising. If they ask follow-up questions, I tell them I do research on our alumni and donors to help Development connect them with the right funding opportunities.

    5. If you were not in Prospect Research, what career would you have?

    I’d love to be a university or museum librarian – being surrounded by art is a lovely way to spend the day.

    6. If you could tell your 15-year-old self about your job, what would you say?

    I would tell her that her lifelong love of learning was going to come in very handy while tracking down the fifth-great-granddaughter of a UW alumnus for whom a building on campus was named!

    7. Why did you join the Apra-Illinois board?

    I joined the Apra-IL board to get more involved in the programming aspect of Apra. Because I’m our current webmaster, head of member e-mails, and czar of Apra-IL’s social media accounts, it’s been a fantastic learning opportunity. Before taking this role, I’d never tweeted, processed an online payment, or created an event banner. I’ve also had great fun working with Apra-IL members on our blog (hi there!). One of the most fun series was our horror stories about the field – head over and read those if you haven’t yet!

    8. Why do you think Apra-Illinois and all of the local Apra chapters matter?

    Local Apra chapters give us a place to speak to people doing our work in our region. This is helpful when it’s time to implement a new process (vendor recommendations, best practices) and also when it’s time to look for a new career opportunity (both through Apra-IL job postings and networking). Apra international serves a similar purpose, but on a broader scale.

    9. What is your #1 productivity tip?

    When you’re in the zone, stay there. When you’re not in the zone, give yourself a break and do something requiring less brain power. I get a lot of Apra-IL tasks completed while I’m distracted from my day-to-day work!

    10. Best advice ever received?

    I can’t say I’ve received a ton of advice, but one quote that I love comes from The Book of Joy in which the Dalai Lama quotes Viktor Frankl, “Our perspective toward life is our final and ultimate freedom.”

    11. If you wrote a book about prospect development what would it be called?

    "Finding the Impossible, Immediately"

    12. If you wrote a memoir on your life, what would it be called?

    I’m not sure anyone would read a book about my life! But I guess I’d call it "From Little House on the Prairie to a Life Unbound."

    13. What book are you reading right now?

    I just re-read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

    14. Currently, what is your favorite restaurant in your city?

    Madison has lots of culinary variety. My favorite place is a Thai restaurant called Sa-Bai Thong that's about five minutes from work.

    15. What is your favorite social platform to connect with people?

    Though I’m in charge of Apra-IL’s Twitter account, I’m stuck firmly in the early 2000's and only really use Facebook to connect with people.

    16. What is the last movie you watched?

    I dove back into the 90s and watched Now and Then on Netflix.

    17. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

    I’d love to have dinner with Charles Dickens. I had a real obsession with his writing when I was young and he seems like he was a character ... I might attempt to put a word limit on his side of the conversation, though!

    18. What is your hobby?

    I’m not really a hobby person. When I’m not a work, I like to read and re-watch The Office. I also love a good road trip.

    19. Are you a texter or a caller?

    Depends on the person. I’m typically a texter until we get onto a good topic and then I’ll give in and call.

    20. Who or what inspires you?

    I’m really inspired by people who manage to find the good in a bad situation. That isn’t a trait I find easy, so to meet and know people for whom this is second nature is fascinating to me.

  • Wed, September 25, 2019 10:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Julie Fregetto

    Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions. 

    Julie Fregetto serves as the Director for Prospect Development at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She joined the ELCA in 2013 as one of the team members to help launch the organization’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, Always Being Made New: Campaign for the ELCA. On June 30, 2019, the church announced the successful completion of the campaign, raising just over $250 million in current and planned gifts.

    Before joining the ELCA, Julie served as Senior Associate for a philanthropic consulting company in Chicago and worked for the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration in the Development Office. She completed her Master’s in Business Administration from Northeastern Illinois University and received a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing from West Virginia Wesleyan College. As part of her professional development, she serves as the Treasurer of the Apra-Illinois Board and, most recently, completed the ELCA Leadership Development Program. Julie enjoys traveling, coaching her son’s soccer team, and volunteering in her community.

    1. What in Prospect Development fascinates you?

    The fact that we can utilize technology and science to do good in the world and change people’s lives.

    2. How do you manage the stress of working with people who do not understand the importance of your role?

    Just as we suggest front-line fundraisers remain patiently persistent in working with donors, so too should we as prospect development professionals. It may take time for some people to see the importance of what we do, but the process does work and that will shine through.

    3. If the annual Apra International conference could be anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be?

    London

    4. What is something on your desk that helps you be the most productive?

    Inspirational quotes

    5. If you were not in Prospect Research, what career would you have?

    Sports management

    6. What is a super power that you use often at work?

    Telepathy

    7. If you could tell your 15-year-old self about your job, what would you say?

    There is a job waiting for you that will empower you to give back in this world while finding joy and a sense of purpose … no need to worry so much about what is to come!

    8. How do you explain your role to people outside of Development?

    I don’t … they get a bit freaked. I usually tell them I work with fundraising databases and analyze information.

    9. What is one misconception about working in Prospect Development?

    We are to blame for everything.

    10. What is one thing Apra has done for you?

    Given me confidence, opportunity, and a vision for what can be.

    11. Are you an early bird or night owl?

    Night owl

    12. What book are you reading right now?

    The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino: A Story of Corruption, Scandal, and the Big Business of College Basketball by Michael Sokolove

    13. Coffee or Tea?

    Coffee

    14. Currently, what is your favorite restaurant in your city?

    Via Roma – I love Italian food!

    15. What is your favorite social platform to connect with people?

    I wouldn’t say there is a favorite, but I typically check Facebook to keep updated on what my family and friends are doing and sharing. WhatsApp is a social platform that I use and like a lot to communicate with my sister who is an international school teacher.

    16. What is the last movie you watched?

    Revenge of the Nerds. Haha!

    17. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

    This is cliché, but my grandpas. They both passed away before I was born, but I have heard so many stories about them.

    18. Are you a Chicago-native? If not, where do you call home?

    I am a Des Plaines, IL native and live just five blocks from my childhood home. Some would say I’m a homebody.

    19. What is your must-have snack while in the office?

    It used to be M&M's, but these days a piece of fruit is the goal.

    20. Who or what inspires you?

    At work, my colleagues and our donors inspire me.

  • Mon, August 26, 2019 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Keli Jonas

    Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions. 

    Keli started volunteering with Apra-IL in 2017 on the Programming & Professional Advancement Committee. She is an Associate Director of Prospect Research at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and has worked there since late 2015. Previously, she worked in prospect research at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in development at Marquette University.

    1. Do you take work home with you?

    If my team is up against a tight deadline, then yes, I absolutely will take work home.

    2. How many unread emails are in your work inbox right now?

    None at the moment…but then there all the un-filed emails that cause problems.

    3. How many meetings do you have this week?

    Four

    4. What is something on your desk that helps you be productive?

    I have a large calendar to which I’ve added important work dates and deadlines, so I can take a look at the upcoming month.

    5. If you were not in Prospect Research, what career would you have?

    I was fascinated with Russian history growing up, so I wanted to teach and research at the university level.

    6. If you could travel back in time and meet the first person to ever have your role, what would you say to them?

    I would want to ask them so many questions, mainly how long would it take to complete research without the technology we use today and what would the ROI on that be?

    7. If you mentored someone in Prospect Development, what would be your first piece of advice or instruction?

    My first piece of advice would be to sign up for Apra and Apra-IL! Both organizations are full of amazing resources and opportunities to learn of new developments in the field.

    8. How do you explain your role to people outside of Development?

    I say that I work in fundraising research at the Booth School of Business.

    9. What is the best part of working in Prospect Development?

    I have had the opportunity to learn about so many different industries, especially the financial sector, since I have been at Chicago Booth. I also get to uncover prospects to help support the work of the university.

    10. What is one thing Apra has done for you?

    I have met so many amazing people through Apra-IL and have learned so much about the various organizations in the state.

    11. Are you an early bird or night owl?

    Definitely an early bird. I like to feel productive early in the day.

    12. What book are you reading right now?

    I just started Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. It is the second book in the Lilac Girls series and takes places during WWI and the Russian Revolution.

    13. What book would you recommend to people?

    I read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead this year and have been recommending it to everyone. I also love the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series from Louise Penny. It’s a detective series with tons of Quebecois history added.

    14. Currently, what is your favorite restaurant in your city?

    I live in the Western Suburbs, so my favorite restaurant out there is Babcock’s Grove House. Fantastic comfort food, local beers, and amazing owners.

    But since I work in Chicago, I’m adding Aba in the West Loop to the list. The rooftop patio and Mediterranean fare are incredible.

    15. What is your favorite season?

    I love fall. The changing colors, food, clothes, and holidays are all my favorite. But no pumpkin spice lattes!

    16. What is your favorite hobby?

    My husband and I bought our first home last year and it is full of projects for us inside and out. I have been learning so much about interior design and landscape design in the process, so if I have some downtime, I am usually working on that.

    17. Favorite meal of the day?

    If it’s the weekend, breakfast would be my favorite since I get to sit down and actually enjoy my coffee.

    18. What country do you wish to visit?

    The next country to visit on my list is Spain, but I am having trouble narrowing down what cities to visit!

    19. Best advice you have ever received?

    When I was little, my uncle always told me to “Keep on keeping on.” It was a simple way to teach me about the importance of perseverance.

    20. What is a superpower that you use at work?

    My superpower at work is figuring out what type of research someone is really requesting. Sometimes a requester doesn’t exactly know what they’re looking for or will ask for a comprehensive profile. By having conversations with research requesters, we can be strategic about what kind of research is appropriate for the situation and complete the work so much faster.

  • Fri, August 02, 2019 6:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Peter Kotowski

    Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions. 


    Peter is a Prospect Research Analyst at Loyola University Chicago. He has been a member of APRA-IL since 2016. Peter got into prospect management and research after finishing his PhD in early American history at Loyola. Before joining the team at Loyola University, he was the Associate Director of Prospect Research at Loyola Academy. Outside of work, Peter enjoys reading, finding new television shows to enjoy, and traveling.

    1. How do you explain your role to people outside of Prospect Development?

    I generally tell people that I work in fundraising but that I don’t solicit donors.

    2. When did you decide to become an Adjunct Professor in U.S. History?

    I’ve been an adjunct since 2011 and I’ve been teaching in various capacities since 2009.

    3. What was your favorite subject in high school?

    This may come as a surprise to many, but it was history. I was particularly fascinated by early American history and early modern English history.

    4. What is it like to both work as a researcher at and teach for the same institution?

    I think it has given me a greater appreciation for the work that I do and a better understanding of what goes on at a university and the way it functions.

    5. If you could travel back in time and meet the first person to ever have your role as Prospect Research Analyst, what would you say to them?

    I’d ask them how they stumbled upon this career path.

    6. If you could spend 24 hours in any period of history, what time would you go back to?

    I’d take 24 hours to observe the construction of the pyramids to test my theory that they weren’t built by aliens, but rather by time traveling humans from far into the future.

    7. What is one thing Apra has done for you?

    It provided me some great information and resources when I first started out in the industry.

    8. When you attend Apra-IL meet-ups, what or who do you also make time to visit?

    I live in the city, so I generally go straight to the meet-ups and then head home.

    9. Best advice you have ever received?

    Always double check your sources.

    10. What is something new you just learned or worked on at work?

    I just finished a first attempt at developing an engagement score to better prioritize new prospect assignments for our gift officers.

    11. By 2030, how would the field of Prospect Development have evolved?

    I expect it will be much more prospect management focused as more of the research becomes automated.

    12. What must you start your morning off with, tea or coffee?

    Black coffee only.

    13. How do you manage or balance work and life?

    I set a firm daily schedule for when I arrive and when I leave, and I never deviate unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    14. Where was your last vacation?

    I went to Philadelphia for the 4th of July.

    15. What is your favorite Season?

    Winter. The colder and snowier the better.

    16. Chocolate or candy?

    Chocolate.

    17. What was the last book you read?

    A good friend of mine from graduate school, Noelani Arista’s recent publication, The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawai’i and the Early United States. It's a fascinating exploration of how misunderstandings and misreadings shaped relations between native Hawaiians and European and American merchants and missionaries. Dr. Arista’s work draws heavily on Hawaiian-language sources and was one of the more interesting historical works I’ve read lately.

    18. Who or what inspires you?

    Pompey, a pug owned by William the Silent, Prince of Orange. He was so loyal to his owner that Pompey risked life and paw to thwart an assassination attempt against William. Thanks to his loyal service, the pug became the official dog of the House of Orange.

    19. What was your first job ever?

    I worked as a cashier at a drug store.

    20. What is your favorite hobby?

    Reading and running.

  • Thu, June 27, 2019 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ... Jessica Szadziewicz

    Based on the 73 Questions series produced by Vogue, Apra-IL presents a series of 20 questions to members and the board. We're excited for you to learn more about your leadership and fellow members in this series of 20 rapid-fire questions. 


    Jessica Szadziewicz is the Assistant Director of Prospect Management and Research at Loyola University Chicago. She previously worked at Northwestern University as a Prospect Information Analyst before joining Loyola in late 2016. Jessica received her MLS from Dominican University in 2011 and her BA in History from DePaul University in 2009. 


    1. What is the first thing you do when you get to work?

    Check email

    2. How many meetings do you typically have in a week?

    Anywhere from 3 to 10

    3. What does your role as Assistant Director of Prospect Management and Research mean to you?

    It means I get to do interesting work every day with great people

    4. If you were not in Prospect Development, what career would you have?

    Probably in a library or archival setting

    5. How would you describe Prospect Development to your 15-year-old self?

    I would say that prospect development is a part of fundraising where you look for wealthy donors

    6. How do you explain your role to people outside of Development?

    I usually say I work in philanthropy or fundraising where I help find wealthy individuals who may want to support the university

    7. What is one thing Apra has done for you?

    Introduced me to great people

    8. If it was possible, where in the world would you want to attend an Apra international conference?

    London

    9. When you come to the Apra-IL meet-ups, what or who do you also make time to visit?

    Because I live in the city I go to the meetup right after work and go straight home after

    10. If you could watch only one movie for a month, what would it be?

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    11. Where did you go on your last vacation?

    Greece

    12. What book are you currently reading?

    Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

    13. What book would you recommend to people?

    Anything by David Mitchell! Especially The Bone Clocks

    14. If you could write your own memoir, what would it be titled?

    What Not to Do

    15. What is your favorite restaurant in your city/town?

    Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders

    16. What is your favorite Season?

    Summer

    17. As a candidate for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Loyola University Chicago, what advice would you give to those interested in applying to an MBA program?

    It is definitely worth it, especially if you get a tuition discount. I’ve already applied some of what I’ve learned in my job and I’m not even half way done.

    18. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

    Boris Godunov

    19. Best advice you have ever received?

    Treat everyone nicely; they could be your boss someday

    20. What is something new you learned at work today or worked on?

    I worked on my presentation for the Prospect Development conference this summer!

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