Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interview with Upcoming APRA Presenter Tracey Church

Today, we are pleased to host Canadian firecracker Tracey Church on the blog!  Tracey joins us from Ketchum Canada, a recognized thought leader and consultant to the Canadian philanthropic sector.  She is also a long-time friend to APRA and the current president of APRA-Canada.  You can find Tracey representing the Healthcare/Member and Cause-Related Organizations track  at the upcoming APRA International Conference.

APRA MidSouth:  Tracey, we’re so glad to have you!  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to prospect research.

KC:  I’m beginning to think all roads lead to the charitable sector!  I have been a researcher in various fields since I graduated with my Master of Library & Information Science from Western University in 1989 – yes, many years ago. I have worked in academic, health-care and multi-cultural libraries, been a research assistant on hospital clinical trials, and worked in research services and institutional research at Western before setting up a custom research company “on the side”. It was about 10 years ago I discovered research within the fund development sector (at London Health Sciences Foundation and then with CNIB until about 4 months ago when I joined KCI as a research consultant) and I have never looked back. The educational and support system from APRA has been a big part of my enjoyment of the profession.

APRA MidSouth:  What are some innovative trends taking place in prospect research within Healthcare/Member/Cause-Related Organizations?

KC:  The explosive social media network in regard to having information pushed to you has to be an obvious change in the last several years and makes scanning for relevant (and sometimes not-so-relevant) news easier on a day-to-day basis. I think that crosses the sectors and applies to researchers in any field.  You can’t help but wonder what life altering tool is coming next to make our lives “easier”. Researchers are not only interested in new things but are also more tech-savvy than most so it’s important to keep up with the innovations and pass what’s relevant onto our fund development teams while at the same time fitting this activity with our traditional duties of keeping the pipelines filled. It makes for a busy research day!

APRA MidSouth:  What resources (books, blogs, trendsetters, etc.) are informing your work of late?

KC:  Continuing with the push-technology topic, I would be lost without my RSS reader. I’m using Feedly now since Google Reader closed its doors. I am also a user of Twitter and LinkedIN for tracking news sources and professional groups in the industry. The blogs and sources feeding my reader are those from Imagine Canada, KCI, Charity Village, the Globe and Mail, Market Newswire, Fortune Magazine, Forbes, Canadian Business magazine, Global Philanthropy, the National Post and many, many more.

While KCI is a consulting firm, we consult the charitable sector, so like anyone else we have a tight research budget so have limited subscription resources. Our “free” resources consisted of Canada Revenue Agency (for foundation and charitable information), MLS & ZooCasa (for real estate), and SEDAR and SEDI (for public company insider information) among others. Subscription resources I use on a daily basis are Grant Connect from Imagine Canada, iWave PRO, Canadian Who’s Who and Canadian Business Resource. I also have several online subscriptions for newspaper and magazine sites in order to get full-text articles to supplement the ones I can access through the good old public library (as we don’t have access to the university system).  Infomart rounds out most of our needs for full-text news resources.
APRA MidSouth:  With regards to Healthcare/Member/Cause-Related Organizations, what challenges in prospect research are you facing and how are you overcoming them?

KC:  Time management and being under-resourced (for subscription and human resources) both seem to be a challenge regardless of organization. Researchers embrace being part of the larger picture and part of the strategic process but at the same time the increase in demand does not come with an increase in time or resources. The smaller healthcare and cause-related organizations are often limited to one-researcher “teams” or even those with researchers who have other fund development responsibilities. When organizations have to “ramp up” for a campaign, often more major giving officers come into the shop making for an increase in workload but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the research team is increased. Setting research queue priorities and communicating these priorities to the team becomes paramount in completion of work and good team dynamics.

APRA MidSouth:  What are the things that will surprise us in this area over the next few years?  What are you most looking forward to?

KC:  Oh, I like the fact the prospect researchers and research managers are more and more becoming part of the strategic planning process within organizations. Not only are researchers “coming to the table”, they are more often leading the discussions of prospect potential and strategic roll-out of the prospect pipeline  for multi-year, multi-programmed campaigns. As more tools come into our market, I think that many within the fundraising world are aware that the researchers are those with the most expertise navigating and gleaning information efficiently and subsequently strategically using that information for what’s important for the organization.

Thanks for joining us, Tracey!  It’s always a pleasure!  To hear more from Tracey, be sure to check out her presentation – “Developing a Prospect Research Strategic Plan for a Cause-Related Organization” – on Friday, August 9th at the 26th Annual APRA International Conference!

No comments:

Post a Comment