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Apra Talks 2020: Friendly Debates 

Passionate advancement professionals are always ready to share their thoughts on "hot" topics in the industry. Be ready for an interactive and informative discussion with industry thought leaders as they share their perspectives on the rapid evolution of technology in our sector. Part conversation, part debate, this session will help us think critically about the tools that are shaping our work.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Apra Talks: Information Overload: Navigating the Landscape of Tools and Technology

With new tools and technologies emerging at record pace, are we doing enough to critically evaluate the tools we use? Are they improving our work, or are they just the next shiny objects? Join us for a spirited discussion around data quality, verification, the ethics of AI and more.

To help better guide the conversation of this session, please take this very brief survey to provide your opinion of technology in the prospect development industry.

Looking for a sneak peak of the session? Watch as Rodger Devine, moderator and Apra volunteer, shares what to look forward to during this session.

Topic 1: Verification: Necessary or Not?

With so many vendors providing near delivery-ready resources – push-button research profiles, capacity ratings, relationship maps, etc. – should Prospect Development share the unverified resources directly with our gift officers? For instance, should we share a push-button dossier so they can sleuth for themselves? Or, should Prospect Development only share prepared reports with confirmed information? And how much is too much in the delicate balance between speed and accuracy? Two front line fundraisers will discuss the merits of a quick turnaround versus pre-verified details.

Presented by: Jenny Johnson, Director of the Family Philanthropy Resource Center, The Minneapolis Foundation and Katie Turcotte, Deputy Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Relations, George Mason University


Jenny Johnson is the Director of the Family Philanthropy Resource Center at The Minneapolis Foundation. In this role, she partners with families and individuals to make charitable impact in our community. Her focus is on helping multi-generational families bring clarity, focus, passion and strategy to their philanthropy.

Johnson has 18 years of fund development and outreach experience in health and human service nonprofits, and she serves on the board of the MN Council on Foundations. Prior to joining The Minneapolis Foundation in 2015, Johnson was Vice President of Resource Development at Aeon. She holds a B.A. in sociology from North Park University in Chicago.

Turcotte, Katie.jpg

Katie Turcotte currently serves as the Deputy Vice President at George Mason University’s office of Advancement and Alumni Relations. In this role, Katie oversees the strategic direction of fundraising activities in partnership with Mason’s VP of Advancement and Alumni Relations and university leadership to identify and implement strategies for success in securing significant philanthropic support for university priorities. 

Katie has a long history working in the nonprofit sector both with and for a variety of organizations including colleges and universities, health systems, arts and conservation organizations, fundraising consultant and researcher and leadership coach. She holds a MS in organizational development from American University and received her BS from Purdue University.

Topic 2: Artificial Intelligence: Use It or Lose It (or Something In Between)?

Is AI the magic solution we’ve all been searching for? How do we understand its limitations, and what are the critical factors to address when evaluating it? Two professionals in the field will engage in a conversation around two perspectives: 1) full steam ahead; and 2) a more critical evaluation regarding the organization’s readiness to adopt these tools. Within this discussion, the presenters will bring forth the issues of social inequities, ethics, data quality, bias, donor privacy, security and more.

Presented by: Celeste Bannon Waterman, Partner and Research + Analytics Lead, KCI and Steve Grimes, Assistant Director of Analytics, NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics (MODA)

Celeste Bannon Waterman - 2018_cropped.jpgCeleste Bannon Waterman joined KCI in 2010 and applied her research skills and her experience in philanthropy to establish KCI’s analytics practice – including data analytics, predictive modeling, targeted screening and environment scans – which are now core elements of KCI’s overall continuum of services. In conjunction with KCI’s Executive Search team, she also led the launch of their unique compensation benchmarking services, which provide strategic insight and benchmarking for hospital foundations, universities and many other sector clients. 

Celeste is a recognized research and analytics authority and has worked with clients across Canada in all sectors, including BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Alberta Cancer Foundation, Wilfrid Laurier University, United Way Centraide Canada and numerous regional United Way Centraides, CAMH Foundation, Make-a-Wish Canada and the University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering. Celeste has also been engaged with her community in many ways, including as a recent volunteer with Apra Canada. 


Steve Grimes_smaller.JPGSteve Grimes is the Assistant Director of Analytics for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) where he is in charge of managing the Office’s analytics project portfolio. He also works closely alongside the City’s Chief Analytics Officer and Deputy Chief Analytics Officer to implement the Office’s data analytics strategy and to develop processes for effective, sustainable analytics project staffing, analysis and reporting.

He was most recently the Director of Development Analytics and Strategy at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He oversaw all reporting and analysis needs for senior leadership to help drive decision making around fundraising activities. Previously, he was the Prospect Research Analyst at the ACLU working with the Principal Gifts team in the national office. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY at Old Westbury, a master’s degree in sociology from St. John’s University, a second master’s degree in media studies from CUNY at Brooklyn College and completed PhD level courses at Rutgers University in sociology.


Moderated by: Rodger Devine, Associate Dean of External Affairs for Strategy and Innovation, University of Southern California

Rodger Devine.jpgRodger Devine is the Associate Dean of External Affairs for Strategy and Innovation at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California. Rodger's portfolio includes advancement operations, business intelligence, campaign strategy, leadership annual giving, program innovation, prospect development and strategic information management.

Prior to USC, Rodger served as the Director of Information, Analytics, and Annual Giving at the Michigan Ross School of Business, where he managed information, analysis, reporting and business processes related to development strategy, portfolio activity and goal attainment. Rodger brings nearly 20 years of experience in software engineering, IT operations, project management, organizational development and cross-functional leadership.


View past Apra Talks here.