By Joan Ogwumike
On the afternoon of Friday, September 30th, 2016 APRA-IL members, new members, and guests gathered at Northwestern University’s John Evans Center for this year’s APRA-IL Fall Conference. Significantly, this conference was formatted as a networking event, and consisted of a discussion panel and track sessions.
The day began with a social hour as people trickled into the building. Conversations buzzed through the air as professionals connected with one another about their positions, APRA, prospecting ideas, and more.
Following APRA-IL’s President, Katie Ingrao’s welcoming statements, the Vice President, Jessica Szadziewicz hosted development officers panel that allowed Prospect Development professionals insight on what these officers, and perhaps gift officers in general, value from researchers. Attendees learned that to make an ask it was helpful to know the prospect’s interests, other places prospects have given to, and relevant relationships, in addition to of course wealth capacities. This panel was an educational piece of the event, and added transparency and comfort to ask questions.
Track sessions in Prospect Research, Prospect Management, and Data Analytics had preconceived topics, and there was time allotted to switching topics within a session. The round table set up for the Prospect Research room was an amazing touch to the intimacy and ability to freely exchange ideas. Professionals really wanted to learn from eachother, and hear one another’s research and management stories.
After the conference, many attendees walked over in groups to enjoy Happy Hour at the local beer tavern, World of Beer.
Overall, the conference encouraged me to re-evaluate first what development and gift officers were receiving from researchers, how I communicated Prospect research to internal and external professionals, and finally how important it was to attend events like this because I needed to hear the exchange of new vendors that people were considering or using. I believe events like this truly allow you to surround yourself with fresh ideas.
Thank you APRA-IL for the space, time to learn, and opportunity to meet new people with common interests. Congratulations on another successful event!