Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hollywood Reporter Reveals Tinseltown Salaries

From assistants to animal actors, screenwriters to movie stars, agents to producers to directors, this revealing article gives salary ranges for many jobs found in and around the film and television industry in the United States.  This article is a must read and must save for any prospect researcher who has ever had to research a prospect working in Hollywood!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Grateful patient article in the Columbus Dispatch

In the face of declining research funding, some local hospitals are turning to their doctors to be more valuable fundraising allies when well-heeled patients want to donate. Over the past 14 months, Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center has trained about 120 physicians on how to respond appropriately when a patient broaches the topic of charitable giving.  


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Job Announcement -- Director of Research and Prospect Relations, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC

Position Information
Date Posted 07/11/2014
Working Title Director of Research and Prospect Relations
Job Classification Administrator IV
Department Name 01097-Medical and Health Sciences Foundation
Job Type Staff
Position Number 0128228
Hiring Range $44,928.00 - $73,632.00
Position Description The Medical and Health Sciences Foundation (MHSF) is the fundraising entity responsible for the joint philanthropic ventures of UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. The Director of Prospect Relations will lead and manage the prospect moves and research functions for the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, supervising staff and working closely with development officers and leadership as a partner in achieving fundraising goals.

The Director of Prospect Relations will design systems to identify new major donor prospects; set standards for information organization, storage, maintenance and retrieval; and ensure timely delivery of vital prospect data. This position will oversee moves management, donor/prospect rating and screening, and research. Develop and oversee budget, and policies and procedures for the department. Evaluate research tools and emerging technologies and coordinate vendor relations. Ensure adherence to professional standards and ethics of prospect research and HIPAA guidelines.

Education Required Baccalaureate

Overall Related Experience Level Required 6-9 years experience
Additional Education and/or Experience Essential to the Position Bachelor’s degree in library science, business, writing, liberal arts or related field.

Required Licenses/Certifications
Assignment Category Regular, Full-Time
Percent Effort 100

Scheduled Work Hours 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
If Varied Work Schedule, Please Specify
If Part Time, Actual Standard Weekly Hours
Campus Pittsburgh
University Benefits The University offers an excellent comprehensive benefits package for all full-time and part-time regular employees including:
• Education benefits and a retirement plan with employer match
• Group medical insurance, life insurance, and optional vision and dental insurance
• Free transit service within Allegheny County for employees of the Oakland campus (Port Authority Transit)
• Time off benefits including vacation, sick and personal time
For more information regarding the University’s benefits package, please visit www.hr.pitt.edu/benefits

Interested candidates should submit online applications, including cover letter and resume, via PittSource (https://www.pittsource.com/postings/search) for the position of Director of Prospect Relations; Department: 01097-Medical and Health Sciences Foundation; Position Number 0128228.  (The working title for this position is Director, Research and Prospect Management).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Resource: International Wealth Lists Site

From the wonderful folks at the Helen Brown Group comes a very helpful resource with links to wealth lists worldwide.  This resource can be helpful when prospecting, looking for links to the top philanthropists, and more.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

APRA MidSouth members at 2014 APRA International Conference

For APRA MidSouth folks or any APRA International members that live in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama or Mississippi, please add a comment below if you are going to the 2014 conference in Las Vegas. Perhaps this will help MidSouthers connect and meet each other.  Thanks!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Does the Refresh App Hold Promise for Prospect Research?

Finding new potential donors is a large part of what we do as prospect researchers, but we are also called to prepare leadership for meetings with prospects. I just read an article about a new app, called Refresh, might just help in this regard. Basically, the app finds what it can through social media and then provides a bit of context for it. For example, it might present the schedule for the Baltimore Orioles if your prospect is a fan. While the concept is new and the risk for incorrect or irrelevant connections is high, I can only imagine the promise of this technology in the future. Do you think it has a place in prospect research?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Full Disclosure of Political Giving

Even though I’m no lawyer (I don’t even play one on TV), I wanted to delve into yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Personal politics aside (don’t get me started…), I think the decision, at least to my somewhat simplistic understanding of it, might be a net positive for prospect research. I’m not so sure it’s a great thing for democracy, but I’m looking for a silver lining here.  

According to an opinion piece by Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily in today’s New York Times (sorry if this is behind a pay wall), the Supreme Court’s ruling “struck down as a violation of the First Amendment the aggregate limit of $123,200 that an individual could divide up among candidates and parties.” Persily’s thinking seems to be that if you set aside whether giving that much money is good or not, at the very least it will now be disclosed. He puts it much more elegantly:  “Any court decision tackling [the problem of undisclosed gifts] (even unintentionally) should be welcomed, if it levels the playing field between those who exercise power openly and must face the voters and those who can never be held accountable.”  My take is that people who might give large gifts secretly to Super PACS thanks to the Citizen’s United case might now give large gifts directly to candidates  and be required to disclose those gifts. Because of legal limits, publicly available political giving has always seemed to skew on the low side, making it difficult to estimate the donor’s wealth. The folks at DonorSearch have found that political giving, especially in the $10,000-$15,000 range, correlates well with the capacity to make very large gifts. It will be interesting to see how the disclosure will work and if it will give prospect researchers a more accurate gauge of donor wealth. Please chime in if you have insights to share.

Mitch Roberson, President, APRA MidSouth

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Using Pinterest for Prospect Research

A colleague sent me this article about using Pinterest for research.  It was written from a marketing perspective, but I wonder if there are applications to prospect research.  Please chime in if you use Pinterest in your development work.

Friday, February 21, 2014

SEC Filings for Humans

One of my awesome colleagues found a very cool site to look up SEC filings. It’s called Rank and Filed. Scroll down on the first page and it talks about how they gather data from EDGAR, index it and return it to the user in a format to help investors research, investigate and discover companies.  It’s super easy to navigate and search.  The really handy and easy to use part is under Data Export.  You can look up Investment Advisors and it tells you how much in assets they have under management.  Check it out at Rankandfiled.com.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review of Prospect Research for Fundraisers

I recently had the pleasure of reading Jennifer J. Filla and Helen E. Brown’s book, Prospect Research for Fundraisers – The Essential Handbook (Wiley, 2013).  The authors, each renowned consultants, lean on their considerable experience to provide clear philosophy and how-to’s for this evolving field.  A passage midway through captures the book’s essence:

In the past, prospect research was known almost exclusively for simply gathering data.  This was in the form of printing reports from the database or compiling information on prospects.  Prospect research pushed information out in the development arena.  Like gift entry and other advancement services, a prospect researcher would not always have had regular interaction with the frontline fundraising staff.  The information was often collected in the same way:  without too much consideration for changing needs.  Today, the prospect researcher has evolved into the position of development partner.  Inundated with information, the development department relies upon prospect research to provide strategic information and work in partnership with frontline fundraisers to provide real-time data.  More than in the past, prospect researchers are recognized as fundraisers too, understanding development principles and directing front-line staff to exactly the information they need.  Prospect research also creates and maintains donor relationship management systems and introduces and assimilates new technologies to provide an organization with competitive advantages (page 124).

Filla and Brown have a steady vision for the work of prospect research that they hold high on each page.  They take us to insights on every facet of the work – from understanding the different levels of research needed, and when, to the ‘hows’ of creating a donor relationship management system.  In the International prospect research chapter, they give exceptional strategy and thought using lessons from work with Habitat for Humanity.  The final chapter reviews trends and suggests the future landscape of prospect research.  This chapter is worth acquiring the book alone as the authors delve into content curation and look at cutting edge resources beneficial to researchers.  They address social media and how data visualization is a powerful resource.

I commend acquiring Prospect Research for Fundraisers to any development operation!  These ladies have assembled a crisp, ever-relevant handbook of ideas.  It is surely useful to the one-person development professional as much as a large research shop – such as the staff of fifteen researchers I help to lead at Vanderbilt University.  The book even includes seven appendices including resources for codes of ethics, researcher skill sets, and relationship management concerns.   

Geoff Little, Secretary/Treasurer, APRA MidSouth

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Position Announcement -- Director of Prospect Research, Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University
Advancement Services
Director of Prospect Research
Western Kentucky University (WKU), Advancement Services, is seeking applicants for a Director of Prospect Research. This position is responsible for the overall coordination and production of information on the prospects and donors to WKU. The Director of Prospect Research reports directly to the Director of Advancement Services, but maintains close working relationships with other Advancement Services and Development Staff.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
The following duties are customary for this position, but are not to be construed as all-inclusive; duties may be added, deleted, and assigned based on management discretion and institutional needs.
  • Maintains an overall knowledge of the University’s top prospects to assist fundraisers in developing appropriate cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies; references and represents that information at meetings and in discussions, as needed
  • Uses daily and weekly sources of information, such as newspapers, magazines and several electronic data sources for important information on past donors, prospects, and for the identification of new prospects; assigns prospect ratings based on giving capacity as determined by extensive financial research through on-line databases and resources
  • Proactively gathers data from research, journals, clippings, etc. on prospects; updates and streamlines to the central files as necessary
  • Responds to inquiries and prepares concise written reports to determine financial assets, potential for philanthropic support, areas of interests and other University affiliations
  • Interprets biographical and financial information on individuals, corporations, and foundations based on the development staff’s fundraising strategies and objectives
  • Proactively gleans information from existing files and sources to identify new fundraising projects or fundraising approaches for previous prospects and donors. This information will be shared on a routine basis with appropriate staff
  • Keeps abreast of developments in prospect research by attending training sessions and communicating with other researchers by means of national and state professional organizational memberships, conferences and electronic mailing lists focusing on prospect research and fundraising issues.
  • Trains and supervises research staff and student assistants and manage a budget for research resources
  • Evaluates research tools and emerging technology and coordinates vendor relations
  • Responsible for oversight and supervision of the Prospect Management area of the alumni and donor database and enforces all policies associated with this system
  • Interprets and monitors prospect management policies
  • Schedules and conducts quarterly prospect review meetings with each major gift development officers
  • Provides standing and special request reports and data relating to prospect management
  • Coordinates all transfers or changes in assignments for all entities associated with the system
  • Has a thorough working knowledge of the database system, helps maintain and enter updated information onto the system and performs other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Three years of Prospect Research/Prospect Management or related experience in a higher education or non-profit setting
  • Experience with donor relationship databases such as SunGard Advance
  • Proficiency in conceptualizing and developing proactive prospecting methodologies using such tools as constituent list segmentation, data mining, and electronic and peer screening

Knowledge and Skills Considered Essential for Success:
  • Thorough knowledge of prospect management and research techniques
  • Strong project management skills and a collaborative nature in working with others
  • Excellent analytical skills and the ability to locate and interpret financial and biographical information from a variety of sources
  • Understanding of wealth indicators and the ability to translate such information into prospect ratings and gift estimates
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and synthesize a high volume of information
  • Ability to write concise research documents accurately with attention to detail
  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to foster a collaborative, customer-oriented working environment
  • Proficient computer literacy and ability to learn applications quickly
  • Strong analytical skills, including expertise in the modeling and analysis of data
  • Advanced computer skills, particularly with MS Office

Salary is commensurate with experience

Applications for employment will be accepted electronically only. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, current resume, and names, addresses and daytime phone numbers of three professional references using the online application process. Please refer to the following website to apply: http://asaweb.wku.edu/wkujobs. For further assistance call (270) 745-5934. Please reference requisition number S3897. For full consideration, submit application materials on or before January 31, 2014. Position will remain open until filled.

Kentucky state law requires all public institutions of postsecondary education to conduct pre-employment criminal background checks to determine suitability for employment.
Western Kentucky University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or marital status in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices in accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Persons with disabilities, who need reasonable accommodations to participate in the application and/or selection process, should notify The Office of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services at (270) 745- 5121, a minimum of five working days in advance.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Position announcement: Research Analyst at Vanderbilt University

Research Analyst Position at Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University has an opening for a Research Analyst.  If you are interested in applying, please go to http://www.vanderbilt.edu/work-at-vanderbilt/ and search for Job Number 1400515 or Research Analyst.  The position will be posted until Friday, February 7, 2014.

Research Analyst

Primary Function
  • Identify and profile potential major gift donors to Vanderbilt University to enhance the university’s fundraising efforts.
  • Collaborate and strategize with colleagues, clients and key administrators regarding prospect identification.
  • Provide clients with written reports containing analysis of information gathered from public sources and recommended courses of action for specific donors.
  • Report to the Director of Research and Prospect Development (RPD).
Primary Responsibilities
  • Provide prospect identification and research needs for an assigned group of development officers (clients) enabling them to meet and exceed fundraising goals.
  • Collaborate routinely with clients to develop prospect identification, cultivation, solicitation and overall fundraising strategies.
  • Consult with clients to determine feasibility of research requests and special projects. Negotiate project scopes and deadlines directly with clients.
  • Advise development officers of database segmentation opportunities. Design and implement segmentation strategies to uncover new prospects.
  • Identify new prospects using traditional and novel prospect research techniques and tools including periodical and electronic resource screening and/or information provided by the prospect, his/her organization and or peers. Notify clients of new potential prospects consistent with established DAR policies.
  • As requested by clients, provide briefing materials to the chancellor, deans, Board of Trust members, and other key university administrators regarding major donors/prospects.
  • Possess high-level of knowledge and understanding of the donor database.
  • Review local and national news data from internet-based and published periodicals. Send articles/alerts to clients as appropriate.
  • Notify data maintenance staff and clients (as appropriate) to new prospect/donor information so that it can be appropriately updated in Advance.
  • Safeguard the confidentiality of donor information at all times. Uphold DAR policies regarding confidential information.
  • Adhere to ethical and confidentiality guidelines as indicated by the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) as well as university guidelines.
  • Manage special projects as assigned.
  • Produce and deliver service to clients based on departmental product standards within agreed upon timelines.
  • Maintain professional working relationships with clients and colleagues.
Basic Qualifications

Job requires Bachelor's and 2 years of experience or the equivalent.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience in university advancement/development operations.
  • Ability to analyze, interpret, synthesize and present complex information effectively.
  • Ability to design and implement data-mining initiatives to identify and/or stratify potential major gift prospects.
  • Solid judgment, sensitivity, and discretion in handling confidential information and situations.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues and staff, particularly in support of medical center goals and initiatives.
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously, set priorities and meet multiple deadlines.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in usage of electronic research tools and techniques, including use of push technology for news alerts.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in efficient and effective internet search methodologies.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in use of computer applications and databases.
  • Knowledge of SunGard Advance database.
  • Exemplary communication, organizational and customer service skills a must.

Friday, January 10, 2014

App Recommendation: Pocket

I recently discovered an app that I find particularly useful for prospect research.  It’s called Pocket and it does one thing very well: saves web pages so you can read them later.  It’s available for free on Apple and Android devices. When you install it as an add-on (or bookmarklet) to Google Chrome, a little button (it looks like a pocket!) appears on your favorites bar.  When you find a web page that you want to keep, click the button.  Go to the Pocket website, and your pages appear as a running list.  You can also email pages to your account and they appear on your list.  Now, when I see an article like “The 10 Most Underrated Movies of 2013” on Salon.com, I click the Pocket button and have it to read later.

One great feature is the ability to tag pages so you can sort them. I made a tag to keep work pages separate from personal pages. You can even get more creative and have tags for specific research projects.  Once you’ve read a page and don’t need it anymore, you simply mark it as read or delete it.  You can also share link to pages.  Like I said, Pocket does one thing very well. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Mitch Roberson, President, APRA MidSouth