Thursday, October 18, 2012

APRA Symposium in Nashville

What I like about the upcoming Advanced Relationship Management Symposium in Nashville that Big APRA is putting on (November 8-9) is that it puts some organization… into the organization!

One of my earliest fundraising jobs was in a development shop of about 12, including all development officers. I was the prospect researcher. Our group would regularly meet to plan, strategize, theorize, document, and predict how to get work done and dollars raised. We were young and eager. We were kicking off a new campaign. The world was our oyster. Let’s do this!

Then we’d find out – the senior-most leaders of our organization already had a long-term narrative in place with almost each of the best prospects we’d worked hard to strategize for them to see. “Did we not already know? Did no one tell us?”

No, we did not know our senior leaders had all of this history with thus and so. At that time, they weren’t required to use the development database. That was for our department. They didn’t attend our development meetings. Needless to say, a sense of spinning our wheels was constant. Who kept track of what relationship? We were supposed to, but how? Frustrations stayed high and staff turnover was common.

That was years ago. I’ve changed as a professional. I bet that shop has too.

All of us are now at the exciting intersection of quantitative analysis and development work. That is where this APRA symposium succeeds. It is a rich spread of cutting-edge philosophy, techniques, and take-aways on how best to organize the work of fundraising for your shop so that all parts of a fundraising enterprise can get on the same page. From setting prospect capacity ratings, tracking moves, setting up prospect portfolios, and more, the brochure is making me think: it is all here. I can only imagine this symposium being a boon for shops large and small.

Our APRA MidSouth chapter is pleased to be helping with a elements of the welcome here to Guitar Town (Nashville). Look for a few of us during the cocktail hour at the hotel’s Park25 Bistro restaurant area in the late afternoon/early evening of November 8.

Look forward to meeting you!

Geoff Little, President, APRA MidSouth


  1. Great Post! (Although I may be a little biased...). As one of the three faculty members for the RM Symposium, I wanted to tell you that we're extremely excited to have the opportunity to spend two days completely dedicated to covering such a wide range of topics on relationship management. I'm looking forward to meeting my APRA Mid-South colleagues and all the participants traveling from near and far to attend. Thanks for being such gracious hosts!

    Emily Walsh
    Senior Director
    Strategic Prospect Development & Analytics
    The University of Arizona Foundation

  2. As one whose roots are in Prospect Management, I'm excited to see this APRA symposium happen! Thanks, APRA Mid-South, for collaborating on this important educational opportunity for APRA members!

    Karen Isble, APRA President-Elect
    Sr. Executive Director, Campaign, Information and Technology Services
    University of Michigan