A non-profit for Prospect Development professionals. 

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 2020 Blog Series:

The Prospect Development Professional's Haven

Questions, Questions, Read all About the Answers!

Placing a Seat at the Table

Goal Setting Tools for 2020

Completed in 2018/2019: 

Love Letters to PD

Match Makers 2.0

Motivations of Leaders

Apra-IL Presents: Notes on Gratefulness

  • 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.  




  • 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.


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