Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Countdown to Conference!

Who would believe that in just one month, prospect researchers from around the US and Canada will be meeting up in Baltimore, Maryland, for the 26th Annual APRA International Conference? Weren’t we just ringing in the New Year? As surely as time flies, the folks at greater APRA have been hard at work ensuring that the event will be every bit as delightful and educational as we have come to expect.

In anticipation of the big event, APRA MidSouth will spend the next few weeks interviewing a speaker from each of the conference tracks, gaining insight into the biggest trends and resources in their respective areas. Today, we’re kicking off with Elizabeth Dollhopf-Brown, APRA Board President, who has graciously agreed to let us peek into the conference itself!

APRA MidSouth:  Elizabeth, thanks so much for joining us!  The conference looks amazing this year! Great speakers, topics, and other events. Can you tell us a little about the planning that went into it and how you determined this year’s theme of Prospect Development 2013?

EDB:  I am really excited about this year’s conference too! The conference is planned by the superhero efforts of the curriculum planning committee, led by conference chair Lauren Dixson. The committee works to ensure high-quality education, including developing key content ideas for each track and recruiting speakers. The conference seeks to provide critical learning and networking opportunities for everyone in prospect research, relationship management, and fundraising analytics, hence the inclusive theme of Prospect Development 2013.

APRA MidSouth:  What will we see at this year’s conference that is new and exciting?

EDB:  I’m so excited to listen to and discuss the brand-new APRA-style TED talks with several remarkable leaders in our field. Their topics are thought provoking-like redesigning the donor experience, where research, prospect management and analytics should report-and will generate a lot of discussion in the roundtables.

APRA MidSouth:  Other than the fabulous speaker sessions and the awesome TED-style talks, what are some of the other “can’t miss” events this year?

EDB:  I always look forward to talking with vendors in the exhibit hall. It’s a chance to see new products and connect in person with vendors we work with year-round. I’m also interested to hear the keynote presenter, Jon Duschinsky, with his vision for the future of non-profits.

APRA MidSouth:  For those of us who aren’t able to make the conference this year, will you have any unique social media applications going on (i.e., live blogging/tweeting, etc.?) Also, what specific hashtags should we be following to see everyone’s posts?

EDB:  Even if you’re not at the conference, you can participate by following social media. The hashtag that we’re using for the conference is as follows:  #APRAProspect13. We’re already using these for conversation before the conference, if you want to check it out. There will be volunteers live Tweeting during the Networking Roundtable Event on Friday (about the TED-style Talks). We’ll also share photos and updates via the APRA Facebook fan page. I don’t tweet much, but I think I’ll try to share as much as I can from the conference on Twitter (@dollhopfbrown)!

APRA MidSouth:  We were excited to see Baltimore as the city host this year. Outside of the conference, what are some attractions/restaurants/etc., you and other conference attendees can look forward to exploring?

EDB:  It’s been a long time since I have been in Baltimore, so I can’t wait to check it out again! I’m excited to see what’s going on in the Inner Harbor. I’ve also been checking out the great list the hospitality co-chairs have put together of restaurants and things to do.

APRA MidSouth:  Any other thoughts and/or advice on how attendees can get the most out of the conference?

EOB:  The best part of the conference is the chance to connect in person with a huge number of our APRA colleagues. It’s great to put faces with names from the L and develop connections that continue throughout the year. I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of the chance to connect with old friends, meet new ones and take away three things you’ve learned you can apply right away when you’re back in the office.

That’s great advice! Thanks so much to Elizabeth for taking time to share a little preview of the conference. Sounds like it’s going to be a great event! 


  1. Great interview! I'm going to go now and add the conference hashtag to my streams to follow. If APRA Mid South is having a gathering at the conference I hope I find out about it so I can crash your party and meet the folks who keep such a great blog!

  2. Great article! I wanted to add that Lori Hood Lawson and I are co-presenting a tweetorial on the Thursday morning. This session will have its own unique hashtag #APRAPeeps.

    For both this session and the session on Alternative Search Engines, there will be scheduled tweets posted throughout the session, so it will feel like you are in the room!

    Oh, and Jen, I'm with you on crashing any APRA MidSouth gathering that may take place so I can meet the people behind the posts.