Reporting What Matters: A Q&A with James Sinclair

Plug In to Relationship Management, Apra's virtual event focused on all-things relationship management, is fast approaching. Held November 1-2, this educational event will hone in on one of the most important pillars of prospect development. Attendees will learn from and interact with some of the industry's foremost relationship management experts, all from the convenience of their office or home.

James SinclairWe spoke to one of these experts, James Sinclair (Associate Director, Relationship Management & Tracking University Advancement, University of Southern California), who will be leading the session "Reporting What Matters." Read on to learn more about what James has in store for the session, then secure your seat at Plug In

Your session digs into the details of identifying key performance measures and reporting on them. How will attendees be able to apply the takeaways from your session to their own work?

JS: There will be two types of takeaways:

  • Practical. We will go over two reports and related dashboards in detail, explaining the rationale for metrics that are included (and those that are left out); attendees may replicate any parts of these reports to fit their needs.
  • Methodology. This presentation is based on the 5Ws & How of journalism. This framework of designing and writing reports may help attendees with designing their own reports.

Why did you choose to use the term “What Matters” in your session title – in other words, why place emphasis on this?

JS: This falls under the category "less is more." Sometimes reports are used for exploration of the information, so they need a lot of data points. But if the purpose of a report is to inform a specific decision, then only the relevant data points related to that decision should be included. That said, "what matters" may vary from person to person, so understanding your intended audience is critical, as is having supplemental data ready at hand.

This year’s event is focused on relationship management, a topic you’re well versed in. Why is this so important in the world of prospect development?

JS: Here's an analogy between development and a factory: Relationship management is to prospect research as sales and marketing is to production. Prospect research makes the widgets (i.e., does proactive identification, produces research profiles, etc.) and relationship management sells and distributes the inventories of widgets (i.e., distributes the names to fundraisers and helps keep portfolios current and at a reasonable size). Both roles are equally important to the overall development operation, and are dependent on one another.

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