Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Category: Apra News
On Tuesday, July 17, Apra members joined Steffanie Brown, Manager, Prospect Research & Development Services, Florida Institute of Technology (@SteffanieMBrown), Preeti Gill, Associate Manager, Prospect Development, Covenant House Vancouver (@SoleSearcherPR), and James Rygg, Director, Prospect Development, Azusa Pacific University (@James_Rygg) as they led a discussion around working in smaller shops. This latest #aprachat reached over 20,000 twitter accounts via 120+ tweets and over 25 contributors during the hour!
Some highlights from the conversation include:
- Everyone defines “small” a little differently, but it was generally agreed upon that being part of a smaller shop (either a smaller organization in general or a small size development office within a larger organization) means working with anywhere from 1-5 team members and needing to wear many hats. One might also define “small” as relative to the fundraising effort of the organization.
- Participants’ roles within their organizations included mostly research and prospect management, with some data analytics, strategy, supporting campus partners with special projects, stewardship and more.
- Some of the skills developed from working in a smaller shop have helped prospect development professionals grow in their careers, from multi-tasking and organization to developing storytelling and building leadership capacity.
- Participants also shared they have had the opportunity to better understand the role of the gift officer by being a part of fundraising events, making in-person visits and setting up appointments.
- Maximizing your social media network is key if you don’t have a large team in the office with you day to day or can’t connect with peers in person as often as you would like. Some key tips:
- Set aside 30 minutes every Friday to read industry news and related reading.
- Use Twitter! You don’t have to clog up your newsfeed – utilize the list feature to segment connections or direct message those in your network for specific advice or questions.
- Follow small shop frontline fundraisers for a helpful perspective
- LinkedIn Groups and blog/RSS feeds are also great to bookmark and check in on every once in awhile. Even Pinterest can be seen as a resource!
- Smaller shops can actually mean a stronger relationship with your gift officers because of the increased face to face interactions. Take advantage of this and develop an understanding of what everyone on the team does.
- Setting expectations with your own time is key though – have a conversation about what will constitute a need for a “research profile” vs. just a wealth screen. You might say that you’ll create the profiles after a first visit.
- Lay out a research request turnaround time through an ongoing spreadsheet that your gift officers can reference.
- Suggested further reading: http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/learn-from-an-authority/small-shop-fundraising/
Search #aprachats to read more about working in small shops, or sign up for the August 28 follow up webinar with James, Preeti and Steffanie. Stay tuned to @Apra_HQ for future Twitter Chats, including Pipeline Management (October 2) and a focus on Apra’s Body of Knowledge (November 13)!