Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Inside Scoop on APRA MidSouth's Upcoming Conference

Greetings; this is the first blog post I’ve done for APRA MidSouth; may be my last (in the business of fundraising, the only constant is uncertainty). But my topic is quite clear—rather than bloviate about some inspired trick of the trade like the old geezer I am, I’d like to talk about an entire bagful of inspired tricks that the chapter is about to pull off for its 2013 conference on April 19.
“Developing Your Data: Strategies for Success in 21st Century Fundraising” is an effort to make available to research professionals in the chapter’s states of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee (as well as any other interested folks from farther afield) information on how to make their jobs more focused on the data that, in our industry, swells as exponentially as kudzu. Rather than be overwhelmed by the flood, it’s hoped that attendees to the conference will discover help in harnessing their data and using it for good. It’s a given that in most cases, information that is most relevant to undergirding fundraising strategy can be found in an institution’s own database—it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and how to interpret it.
At Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Lora Cowan is part of an innovation in the field. Tech's division of University Development and Advancement Services conceived a new way to provide valuable prospect information by working collaboratively to improve its prospect management and research process. They developed an entirely new rating system and deployment of prospect information to deliver such data both as an in-office application as well as mobile access via iPad and iPhone. Lora will join us to detail the ups and downs of that process.

Susan Black, CFRE, is the founder of Allene Professional Fundraising in Columbus, Ohio. She has considerable experience in fundraising, public relations and volunteer management, having worked at Marietta College, Easter Seals of Central Ohio, the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio, and St. Vincent Family Centers in Columbus. She will present to the conference about her work in the wider non-profit community, helping struggling non-profits identify strategies to allow them to reach their potential.

In our area, we use the services of numerous skilled vendors and would want to appear objective, but given that DonorSearch is our presenting sponsor, we are especially fond of them. Their tagline is, “We start with proven philanthropy.” Bill Tedesco has crafted a company with enough horsepower and reputation in the field that Forbes magazine called upon DonorSearch for support in putting together its 2012 list of the 400 Richest Americans—a clearly data-intensive process. Presenting for DonorSearch at our conference will be Ryan Woroniecki, who helmed a session on the top five indicators of philanthropy and wowed the field at APRA-Maryland’s conference last fall.

Our keynote speaker, Mark DeFilippis, is the Director of Advancement Research for The Nature Conservancy. Mark joined TNC in 2007 and led the prospect research support of TNC's recently completed $1.6 billion "Campaign for a Sustainable Planet." In that role, he has provided integral support for DeepGreen, the proprietary home-grown Content Management System housing TNC’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) analysis and connections-related prospect research. He is a founding member of AASP, former president of APRA-Georgia, served two terms on the APRA Board of Directors, and has been the moderator of PRSPCT-L since 2003.
So there’s the tease—are you in? Join us Friday, April 19, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee, between 9:00 and 4:00—we’ll try to be both hospitable and informative and will make it worth your while. Whether you’re part of a large development enterprise, a one-person shop, or somewhere in between, all levels of expertise are welcome. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” For more detailed information on the conference and how to register, please consult the APRA MidSouth events page.

Tim Dempsey, Director-at-Large, APRA MidSouth

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