Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Unique Perspective

As one of APRA MidSouth's newest board members, I'll start by introducing myself. My name is Amanda Madonia and I am the Development Officer and Data & Research Manager at Martha O'Bryan Center, a non-profit serving individuals, youth and families living in poverty in Nashville, Tennessee.
One aspect that makes my experience different from most of the prospect researchers I've met through APRA MidSouth is that I serve as the primary prospect researcher as well as a fundraiser for my organization. This gives me some unique perspective when it comes to donor research. For those of us working for a small non-profit, we often times find ourselves wearing multiple hats. On any given day you may find me touring a donor, soliciting sponsorships, reviewing inventory of in-kind donations for the week, making updates in our donor database and among many other things, doing prospect research. Part of what I love about my job (and what can sometimes be the most challenging) is the variety of projects that I manage from day to day. In my role, I am not only responsible for finding new funding sources but I am also tasked with cultivating those relationships to gain further support for our organization.
As most of us know, donor retention can be particularly problematic for non-profits. In an environment where over 50% of donors leave after making their first gift, many organizations can struggle to maintain a reliable donor base. As a fundraiser, it is my responsibility to steward those donors and build a lasting relationship with our organization. As a researcher, it is my responsibility to gather the data and increase our prospect list. When I am researching a particular prospect, I'm also thinking about how the data I am finding will help me in my next step of cultivation. While it can sometimes be difficult to find a balance between my research and fundraising roles, I continue to learn and develop in each of these areas and would love to hear your thoughts on managing these two functions.  
How many other non-profit professionals have had similar experiences juggling these roles? And what advice can those of you not working in a non-profit environment provide to us?
I look forward to continuing to share our experiences and grow from each other’s own unique perspective. Lastly, as the new Membership Director for APRA MidSouth, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite anyone who is reading our blog and is not a member to join (click here). Thanks and happy prospecting!
Amanda Madonia, Membership Director, APRA MidSouth

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