By Joan Ogwumike, Development Coordinator, Mikva Challenge
What makes Prospect Development a great career?
APRA-IL is asking local and national industry leaders what the field means to
them and why and how they have pursued success in Prospect Development.
Is our commitment to the field because of the impact we can have on the world
through our work? Is it the fact that for many of us, Prospect Development careers
are a “perfect fit” with our skill sets? There are countless reasons to build a career in
Prospect Development: through this blog series we will explore what drives
industry leaders to propel their careers and Prospect Development forward.
Our first interview in this blog series features APRA-IL president, Katie Ingrao
speaking on why she does this work.
Stay tuned for upcoming feature profiles in this series each month!
APRA-IL: Describe your motivations to build your career in Prospect Development, and what keeps you engaged.
Katie Ingrao*: I, like many people, fell into Prospect Development, and there are several reasons that keep me in it. One of the more prevalent reasons is that I feel this field truly utilizes and values my natural talents and skills. My background is in education and library and information science, and I consistently rely on that experience in my work with database trainings, data management, and general research. This [experience] allows me to feel more versatile in my work and not restricted in the future opportunities available to me. I know that I can continue working in prospect management or branch off into data analytics and still be within the same field and maybe even the same organization.
The people that I meet in Prospect Development have kept me engaged in the field. I have always enjoyed connecting with the different people who make up the fundraising industry. They all have different experiences, educational backgrounds, and skills. It’s really rewarding to me to hear how and why they got into fundraising because it shows how truly diverse our industry is. This diversity, I think, makes my work experiences so great.
APRA-IL: Can you share a piece of advice with the readers, on what
you've gained by professional development?
K.I.: I have gained quite a bit from professional development through APRA-IL. Most importantly, I’ve been able to build my skills of networking and understanding the importance of connecting with professionals beyond my office and even beyond my specific field. I started out in a single-person shop and it was very intimidating as a new Prospect Development professional to be completely independent with no structured support. Joining APRA-IL and attending conferences has forced me to be more engaged and confident. My involvement has taught me confidence and how to be more assertive in my daily interactions with colleagues and being a better advocate for my work.
APRA-IL: What is next for you? Is there anything you would like to
accomplish or challenge?K.I.: I’m not entirely sure what’s next for me professionally. I think a great aspect of Prospect Development is that there are lots of options and always new opportunities to consider. Going forward, I hope to learn more about data modeling and implementing those data analytics skills to prepare for my organization’s next campaign. I have never prepared for or gone through a campaign so that’s an exciting upcoming endeavor. As for new things at APRA-IL, I hope to increase volunteer engagement among our members. I have found the experience extremely rewarding and want to encourage more chapter members to participate.
*Some aspects of Katie’s answers have been paraphrased.