Friday, March 30, 2012

APRA MidSouth Seminar -- Prospect Research 101

APRA MidSouth is happy to announce the first of three half-day seminars on Prospect Research 101. The first event will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, April 20, 2012, at Room in the Inn (705 Drexel Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37203) from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The event is free for APRA MidSouth members and $20 for non-members.

Topics for discussion include how to establish gift capacity, what prospect research means for your organization, and how to use free resources to conduct top-notch research. We will announce the details of upcoming events in Louisville, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee soon.

To register for the event, click here or contact Geoff Little at or 615-322-3851. To become an APRA MidSouth member, click here.  We look forward to meeting not-for-profit professionals from across the region and learning together!

Transylvania University Job Opening

Please see our Job Board for information about a prospect research position at Transylvania University.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post: Excel Tip of the Week: Pivot Tables

Knowing how to use Microsoft Excel is important when it comes to analyzing research data.  It's even better if you know about pivot tables.  Please check out this illuminating blog post on pivot tables by friend-of-APRA MidSouth, Doug Midkiff.  Thanks, Doug!  You can see more of Doug’s excellent Excel tips here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

University of Tennessee Job Openings

Please see our Job Board to learn about two prospect research positions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Privacy on LinkedIn

A word of warning to those of you who have the word “research” in your job title!

LinkedIn now allows users to see who has recently viewed their profile. Fortunately, as a user you also have control over what others see when you visit their profile. If your job title references “research” and the name of your institution, it would probably be wise to change your settings to anonymous. Of course, what you are able to see about others mirrors what they are able to see about you. (So I cannot see who has been looking at my profile, because I am anonymous when looking at other people’s profiles.)

To edit this setting, hover over your name in the top right corner and click settings. In the middle of the page, find the link that says “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile”

Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see next:

Caroline Rossini, APRA MidSouth Treasurer

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Newsletters, Listservs, and Blogs, oh my!

I am always looking for ways to add new resources to my research tool box. Newsletters, listservs, and blogs are the perfect solution and let you sit back and have all of those helpful links come right to you. Of course, you know about the great resources APRA MidSouth is offering on our blog, but what about non-traditional prospect research sources? Business librarians and other information entrepreneurs know their stuff and they have some great resources.

Here are some of my favorites:

My absolute favorite newsletter is from BestBizWeb. Once a month I receive this gem in my email box full of some of the best business research sites The Information Advisor has recently come across. I love the simplicity of the email and that I can quickly learn if the site they’re suggesting is free or fee-based, the URL, type of information provided, and a quick review of the site itself.

If you haven’t heard of ResearchBuzz, go there NOW and sign up to follow their blog by email. You’ll receive an email summarizing lots of great information on search engines, databases, and other online information collections.

The Internet Scout Report is another way to satisfy your inner nerd every Friday through another electronic newsletter. The Scout Report is the flagship publication of the Internet Scout Project and has been published continuously since 1994. Even when it is not related to prospect research, I always walk away learning something new. As a bonus, be sure to check out the site’s Scout Weblog for some interesting links to other blogs and topics around the world.

Marcy Phelps of Phelps Research has a monthly newsletter you can subscribe to and receive monthly tips and sites for Internet research.

Phil Bradley’s weblog focuses on Internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, and search engines and their development. He’s a good one to add to your RSS feed.

Sometimes I don’t need a link to a new site, but I do need a little professional motivation or insight. My daily alert to the Harvard Business Review always provides an interesting blog post or two on a variety of subjects including managing people, innovation, leadership, and various business topics. (Note: there is a limit on the number of articles you can view per month.)

Now it’s your turn – what are some of your favorite blogs and newsletters?

Angie Herrington, Vanderbilt University

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wait, If You Are APRA MidSouth... Who Or What Is "APRA"?

Understanding what your professional association options are as a prospect researcher may not be immediately clear. When I was new to this industry years ago, fresh from the corporate world, I was the only one in a small development group. I was given a clear mandate from my fundraising group – what they wanted – and I just started doing it… This worked well enough for a time. I remember in that first year or two that I went to a fundraising gathering. There were no researchers! I remember thinking that maybe this was the state of the world we lived in. I sort of decided I’d been meant to wander the earth alone – with my laptop of wealth indicator databases, Excel lists, and profiles in progress.

Then one day, new at a different job, I was encouraged to review the APRA (Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement) website, I was given a username and password and access to everything. Whoa! So this is a full industry that had been going for 20+ years – and there was a wealth of shared ideas and best practices to tap into. Wow. In a few minutes, I began to feel connected to a wider prospect research horizon than I’d yet known. You see, I’d not had anyone nurturing me toward a specific professional group that I should trust. Up until that day, I was appreciative of other fundraising/advancement groups and associations, but I noted how APRA much more focused on what I did day-to-day and as a career. I regularly listened to their saved seminars and read Connections, the newsletter of APRA. I looked at opportunities available at conferences and meetings. I reviewed the different smaller chapters around the United States.  I wondered if Tennessee was supposed to have a chapter. (YES, TN was! More on the 2007 APRA MidSouth birth/history in another blog post.)

Today, APRA is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois (picture of tower they are in below). I think it is worth noting, this is their 25th year of existence! As of this month (March 2012), APRA has a completely renovated website (link above). I was fortunate enough to visit the headquarters for a strategy summit of chapter presidents in late February. In particular, I spent quality time with executive director Julie Sutter, operations coordinator Sarah Murphy, and others to address challenges and opportunities for the association. These women are exceedingly bright and helpful. Among their duties, they work with the board of APRA.  Also during this time I was pleased to spend time with Michael Quevli, president of the board. Michael has served APRA for over 10 years. He currently works with Blackbaud Analytics, but has much been in the world as we researchers know it. He was the development director of research at the prestigious Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California for 8 years. The entire APRA leadership is more committed than ever to their chapters, and are actively working to strengthen our network.

What is the best national professional association for a prospect researcher to immerse oneself? I hope this blog post makes this clear. Second, what might be a best total immersion experience into the APRA world? After their website, I believe it is going on to attend the annual national conference. This year, it is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from August 1 to August 4. Just this week, I received a great brochure in the mail detailing the many options and opportunities. It looks like everything in the mailer is also right there on the web! I am not 100% confirmed yet, but if possible, I hope to see you there.

Geoff Little, APRA MidSouth President