Tag Archives: apra

Prospect Research Woman

March is always an interesting month – International Women’s Day and now Research Pride Month. It also happens to be the height of snowbird season in Florida where I live. The snowbirds arrive in full force in January and by March are facing the end of their extended vacation. As a condo-dweller, our recreation committee swings into high gear during this time and I partake in BUNCO, a dice game attended only by the women. We wouldn’t turn away a man, but they take off on those nights in search of the best happy hour deals and the cheapest eats on the beach.

We self-segregate because the snowbirds in my condo buildings came of age when a man couldn’t imagine attending a baby shower and a woman ruled the domestic space. This kind of segregation is almost incomprehensible to my daughter. In her world men and women plan the wedding together and they both attend their friends’ baby showers. Have we reached the age of inclusion?

Consider the world of prospect research. We use algorithms to find and match quantifiable assets to individuals and statistical modeling to predict likelihood to give. We deal in math and numbers. And math and numbers don’t lie. Or do they?

As Preeti Gill shared in her coming-of-awareness story, “What About Women?“, sometimes it’s not about what you find, but what you are not finding that matters. And in fundraising there are a lot of women and other minorities who are not being found, or when they are found, not being pursued because the right “numbers” are not found.

We know from Forbes Billionaires List that 75% of wealthy women did not earn the wealth they own or control. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have it. It does mean that as your prospect research professional I probably won’t be able to point to as many of those comfortable numbers you know and love – publicly held assets in her name.

We know that women prefer to volunteer and investigate organizations before making a significant investment. But that often means you will see many small gifts in one year adding up to a substantial sum or unlisted volunteer roles. And that means it’s likely that as a prospect research professional I won’t be able to point to the one BIG gift or the nonprofit board roles you cherish as such great indicators of wealth and inclination.

Prior to hearing from Preeti Gill I absolutely demonstrated bias in assessing wealthy women’s ability and inclination (and likely any other minority I’ve researched). The irony is not lost on me that just as I lament that so many women still feel pressure to perform a full-time career simultaneous with performing full-time domestic duties, I am biased against wealthy women. Me! A prospect research woman.

Yes, men and women attend baby showers together now, but primary parental and domestic duties still fall unevenly on women in most households. Yes, women have accumulated remarkable wealth, but fundraising is still struggling to update its “categories” or “mental shortcuts” that have worked so well in the past. And although information technology has improved our ability to do so many things, it inevitably incorporates the conscious and unconscious biases of its creators.

How exciting is it then that fundraising and prospect research is dominated by women? We are in the perfect position to openly examine potential bias and deliberately develop methods to counter it. We can write a different story, choosing different words and different numbers to represent different constituents – all of them hot prospects!

I’m proud to a member of a field that shares the way Preeti Gill shared her story; that collaborates the way APRA Pennsylvania welcomed the Prospect Research Institute to host roundtables together in Greater Philadelphia; that advocates the way that Research in Fundraising is doing in the United Kingdom; and that celebrates in the way that Helen Brown has anointed March as Research Pride Month.

No matter what your particular fundraising role is, take the time to share a little research pride. Ask your researcher what s/he does or share how prospect research has impacted you. If you are a prospect research professional, share the research contributions you have the most pride in. Be a part of the conversation on social media, too. Make your posts with the hashtag: #ResearchPride.

I and a whole bunch of other researchers will be looking for your stories!

More Resources You Might Like

Sweating it out in New Orleans with APRA

APRApd2015ButtonsThe APRA International Prospect Development conference is about to begin with the Analytics Symposium,  Researcher’s Boot Camp and pre-conference workshops starting tomorrow.

And WHEW! is it ever hot out! (this coming from a Floridian who loves summer)

I’ve been reading hints on Twitter about the cool (and cooling) swag the APRA chapters have on offer at the chapters table. I will be scooping up my conference treasure, but I have some conference doubloons of my own! Check out the photo for a picture of the pins I have to give away – but only to those who can catch me and ask about #gogirlresearch!

HINT: Take a peek at who is presenting on 7/25 at 8:30am!

Research Strategy: Qualification vs. Solicitation

digital world webI’ve been all about the prospect profile for a while – presenting at APRA’s conference in Las Vegas, teaching at the Prospect Research Institute, and creating a profile collection. The one question that has come up repeatedly is “What’s the difference between qualification and solicitation research?”

Many people that have just transitioned into prospect research, especially if they have other duties as well, are often not asked to do a lot of actual research. They are asked to pull reports from products like DonorSearchiWave PRO,Blackbaud’s ResearchPoint and WealthEngine, verify and distribute the results.

Which points out the direction of the prospect development field, doesn’t it? Knowing how to effectively manage the information is becoming just as important as being able to research to find information. Those research screening tools are getting very good! They are so good that you might be wondering if qualification research is even necessary. It is.

The Big Picture – Strategy

The premise behind qualification research is that we need to determine if a prospect is indeed capable of giving at an amount we decide is a major gift and if the prospect is philanthropically inclined. It’s a bit like a home inspection. Before I bought my house I paid for a home inspection and was so glad I did. There’s nothing like a trained professional to point out what you missed, but more importantly, to pull it together intelligently so you can make decisions. Qualification research should do that for your gift officer.

Solicitation research is prepping to ask a prospect for a gift and although the effort varies depending on what kind of research was done prior to this stage, generally we are laser focused on what information will help the gift officer ask for the largest, most appropriate gift. For example, we don’t need to list every gift found. Instead we need to provide as much detail as possible on the kinds of gifts made that relate to the gift we are planning to ask for.

Actions to Achieve the Strategy

So what does the difference look like in terms of actual searching behavior? Qualification means QUICK. Solicitation means FOCUSED.

Qualification is QUICK when you…

1)  Know what you want and need to find

Do you know what will qualify your prospect? This is where a good profile template or in the case of entering directly into the database, a good checklist, will save you time and sanity.

2)  Know exactly where to find that information

Now that you have a template, what is the fastest way to fill in the blanks? My strategy is to start with what I know already (your own database and your organization’s website), then your paid tools and then your collection of frequently used websites. I usually save giving for last because we can only match the gift to our prospect based on his name and what we know about him, such as where he went to school, what state he lives in, his service on nonprofit boards, etc.

3)  Have the discipline to stop looking

Sometimes this is the biggest obstacle for the prospect research professional. We love researching! But nine times out of ten this is NOT the time to follow clues, detail her family history and read countless news articles. If your prospect is listed on the Forbes Billionaire List, why would you detail her real estate holdings? Find her home and favorite vacation spot, but heck, she’s a billionaire! Write a quick summary sentence for the rest. For the majority of nonprofit organizations, being a billionaire qualifies her for capacity to give. End of story.

Solicitation, on the other hand, builds on qualification, including information discovered by the gift officer through cultivation visits. Yes, it usually takes a lot longer, but you should take a very different approach from your qualification research.

Solicitation is FOCUSED when you…

1)  Communicate well with the frontline fundraising staff

If you don’t know what kind of gift is anticipated or what the fundraising priorities are at your institution, you may end up including all kinds of data and spending countless hours being “comprehensive” when that is not what is needed – or even wanted.

2)  Are educated about giving vehicles and trends

If you don’t understand the general concepts of how the very wealthy can make gifts you might overlook important clues. For example, if a prospect owns a few apartment buildings as a way to invest his retirement money, but he still brings in a significant earned income from his job, he might consider giving the apartment buildings’ income to your organization while he retains ownership of the buildings. Now you know that beyond the value of the real estate, estimated apartment rental income could be a valuable piece of information!

3)  Dig deep on relevant clues

So many of us were trained to be comprehensive in our solicitation research, which means that we take as much time as we need to detail every asset and every gift. The closer you work with a gift officer, the more likely you will find that this is not often a useful approach. If I am about to ask a large corporation for a multi-pronged, multi-million dollar gift, what do I want to know the most about? Every division within the company and estimated earnings? Or every detail on how another organization received a very similar relationship and gift? I sincerely hope the answer is obvious!

 Search strategy and experience

 If you are new to prospect research you may be wondering how you will ever be able to learn all there is to know. The good news is you won’t! Part of the joy of our profession is the continual learning. It never ends. Aim for some balance. Learn the nuances of public information and wealth, but also fundraising principles and techniques.

If you are not new to prospect research you might have different ideas on search strategies or stories to tell. Don’t be shy! Why not share?

Other Resources You Might Like

So much wealth in China! So little time!

asiaglobe_smThis past weekend I sat down and listened to frontline fundraisers and prospect researchers talk about how they work efficiently and respectfully to raise money in China. It felt long on a Saturday afternoon, but it was worth every minute. If you can find a viewing, go watch it!

If not, here are some of my top takeaways from NEDRA’s Panel: Inside Chinese Philanthropy recorded from their May 30, 2014 event with researchers from Tufts, Harvard, and MIT, and international frontline officers from Tufts and MIT.

On Teamwork

  • Put in place REALLY skilled fundraisers: the prospecting, cultivating and stewarding I heard talked about was very skillful and effective; this is not the time to practice
  • Teamwork between research and fundraiser MORE important: a constant feedback loop between frontline fundraiser and researcher is necessary to tease information out of sources
  • Develop a network of translators: you may be surprised how many people in your organization are fluent in other languages; these people can turn into keys unlocking the one piece of information that leads to a treasure chest full!
  • Contact information is the most important piece of information and the most difficult to find
  • A story was told about a frontline fundraiser sending cold emails in Southeast Asia and securing three $1M USD gifts for a specific initiative! (back to REALLY skilled fundraisers)
  • Get data collection and entry correct, especially events that are actually attended (back to the importance of contact information)

On Research

  • Create search tip checklists for each prospect: you don’t want to forget or make another researcher re-learn all the clever ways you found information on that prospect
  • Capacity requires country context research: because there are often fewer hard asset numbers to gauge capacity, you need to get a feel for how the prospect stands in her own environment
  • Names are so many different ways that it gets difficult (back to search tip checklists)
  • News is the best source for information: Factiva lets you search multi-languages
  • Access and connection is also key: they almost talked about relationship mapping, but didn’t

On Culture

  • Parents: get them in the first year!
  • This is the first generation of wealth: some may want to enjoy their wealth for a bit; don’t forget they grew up without luxuries like refrigerators; they are just reaching middle-age
  • The wealthy are often followers: showing peer giving is helpful
  • Attitude to U.S.: we appear very wealthy when they still have a lot of poverty; business and local pressures to support home projects; may want to show how their U.S. giving helps Chinese at home or abroad
  • Government: there are restrictions on exchanging USD and a cap on giving; may also want to be anonymous or hide wealth; party members and government dominated firms are not going to give

On Patience

  • Must be committed to cultivation over a long time: philanthropic culture is still transactional and local
  • Some programs started in the late 1980’s/1990’s and just now gaining serious traction

Research Tools Mentioned

Extra:

 Other Articles You Might Like

 

Don’t Forget the Dividends!

brainwithpeopleSM
Content Review Panel Experts!

I’m building a beginner to intermediate course on insider stock and compensation and guess what I forgot? Dividends! Thankfully, my Content Review Panel Experts spotted the gap. And we had a great discussion about dividends that made my day. Why?

Well, of course, I was relieved to have my mistake corrected before I produced the video lectures, printed workbook and other materials. But really it was about having a topic discussion with varied colleagues who have differing opinions and resources to bear on the subject. I don’t think I’m alone in thriving on these kinds of conversations.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the APRA 2014 conference in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago. Of course the sessions were fantastic, but really memorable was an informal gathering organized by Mary Gatlin of the University of Oregon. She posted on PRSPCT-L asking if anyone wanted to get together and talk about capacity ratings. Boy did we! Around 30 people responded. I had to sit on an end table because there weren’t enough seats.

During the Vegas conversation we could each ask questions without fear of looking dumb and we could offer opinions and suggestions too. I learned what is happening at a big institution and some ideas on rating (or not) international prospects. Some of us made connections and now have new colleagues in our networks.

High-Level Conversations

This hunger for what I like to call “high-level” conversations is understandable because prospect research professionals have to learn vast amounts of information to get on the wagon and stay current. We need to be able to ask a beginner question one minute and share an advanced technique the next. Because that’s the world we work in.

It also helps me understand why Prospect Research Institute participant Lisa Brown yearned for the Profile Peer Review Program. They are now doing their second round of peer review. Not only do they get to have high-level discussions, but they get to have those conversations after giving and receiving written feedback in a controlled environment. Powerful.

Back to Those Dividends

So what did we finally decide about dividends? We agreed that it’s not usually a huge loss if they are forgotten, but that they offer a possible opportunity for a gift. Because they are essentially cash, if the number of shares is great it can be a significant part of the prospect’s disposable income picture.

Don’t forget the dividends when you research your prospects and don’t forget that even if you are brand new to the prospect research field you have valuable knowledge and perspectives – your own “dividends” – to gift!

Other Articles You Might Like

How to Write Better Prospect Profiles

NewspaperViewSMBoiling down a global corporation into just what matters to a specific organization is WORK! And that’s when I realized how important sales writing skills are to prospect research.

I forgot how difficult it is to do lots of profiles. But it was a first assignment from a new client and my best contractor was busy. So I took them on and it was fun…and hard work.

You should also know that I’ve been prepping to co-lead a workshop at APRA’s conference in Las Vegas in July on Improving Your Profile Techniques. Between organizing my materials and researching lots of profiles I’ve had lots of questions swimming in my head such as…

Exactly which pieces of information should be included and where? How does the way we communicate over the request impact the quality of the work we provide? How much do we, or should we, “sell” the prospect to the gift officer?

The Prospect Profile Collection

Teaching something has a way of making me question everything I think I know. So one of the first things I like to do is collect good resources. And one of the three guiding principles behind the Prospect Research Institute is Shared, so I created The Prospect Profile Collection online.

The collection is a work in progress, but it already has a number of recent blog posts on prospect profiles and nine profile templates, including a surprise profile. If you go on the page and spot the one that’s different from all the others, be one of the first few to comment and you never know what pleasant surprise might arrive in your snail-mailbox!

Do you have a prospect profile template you’d be willing to have added to the collection? Please contact me and let me know!

The Big Takeaway

While I can’t share here all of the content I’ve been preparing for the APRA workshop and the Institute’s first online course on profiles, I can give you at least one takeaway…

Start thinking like a journalist!

If you do nothing else differently you will still have improved if you present your material the way a newspaper reporter would. Why? Because journalists are taught to put everything important and attention grabbing in the first few paragraphs. Heck! The first sentence! The reader must be irresistibly drawn through the article…all the way down to the last few paragraphs with all the dull, ordinary facts.

Now read your last profile over again. Wonder why that gift officer was reluctant to add the new prospect you identified to her portfolio? Look at the narrative on occupation. How much of that is really necessary? Writing less is never easy, is it?

Now imagine if you could transform your profile into a front-page newspaper article. A headline that got the equivalent of retweeted all over your development office! What would it take? Don’t be afraid to play with this one. Playing is a great way to shake our minds out of old habits and gain new insights. Let’s try one for a children’s hospital.

Dina Delight is an executive at a global company who has made two million-dollar gifts and is passionate about pediatric cancer     …Or…    Million-dollar donor, Dina Delight, passionate about pediatric cancer, is EVP at Biggie Co. where we have a really good connection!

If I were a gift officer I would be very excited about Dina Delight! Of course, condensing our prospects into a scintillating headline is not appropriate in the fundraising office. Our prospects deserve way more respect than that. But if you try to make an attention-grabbing headline about the next three prospects you profile, I’ll bet that you wind up going back to shine a light on the pieces of information that are most important to developing a relationship.

Are We Salespeople?

Which brings us back to selling the prospect to our gift officer. Selling often has a negative connotation. We imagine a sales person trying to make us buy something we don’t want or need. But we are all sales people. Every time you try to persuade your child to eat a new food, or your spouse to buy a new and bigger TV, you are selling. It’s no different in prospect research. If you don’t believe me, read about it.

When we recognize that we are selling, that we are persuading our gift officers why or why not to pursue a prospect, now we have a path to learn how to do it better. When it comes to prospect profiles, writing like a journalist and selling our story to the reader is a skill that will set you apart from other researchers.

Ready, Set… GO!

Start with the articles listed below, or check out Prospect Research Institute’s Profile Peer Review Program or Introduction to Prospect Profiles online course. And if you’re attending APRA’s pre-conference workshops, I hope to see you there!

 

Other Articles You Might Like

 

Curious About Canada? A Primer for Prospect Researchers Who Don’t Own Hockey Sticks

Guest post by Preeti Gill

On this April morning, it’s -5 Celsius and the snow is blowing lightly.

I saunter in to my local Timmies, order a double double and a honey crueller, drop a few loonies on the counter and sit down for a while. It is tax time and I need to netfile before the CRA deadline. I look up from my keyboard and there’s Tony, the local hockey sensation, carrying his pet beaver on his shoulder…

Eh?

Oh, Canada, where donughts (not donuts), yoga pants and timed tweets were perfected. The land where conservative fiscal policy helped our big five banks cushion Canadians (somewhat) from the economic downtown of 2007/08.

I find that where we’re from makes us exotic, especially for other Prospect Research professionals who are always on the lookout for new resources.  When Jen and I brainstormed around blog ideas, she seemed intrigued by my Canadianness.

“How far is Ottawa from Toronto?” she asked this Vancouverite who is ill-equipped to comment on any Ontario-related matters.

What I can offer is a quick primer on today’s Canada for Prospect Researchers outside my homeland, strong and free.  Here you’ll find some interesting “Timbits” about what’s new and where to access information about your friendly Canuck prospects and donors.

We are accomplished

Our Government hands out accolades to everyday and high-profile brave and successful Canadians.

Our peers also honour each other.

We are diverse

Immigration is primarily driving population growth. Environics intelligence notes that in our major urban centres, Toronto and Vancouver, nearly half of the population identify as members of a visible minority group. So the minorities are fast becoming the majority.

Canadian Immigrant magazine profiles successful new Canadians in business and other areas.

We are rich

  • Well, they are (not me) –> Canadian Business Rich 100 2014 [List]
  • The left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives studied the wealth gap in Canada and discovered that the wealthiest 86 Canadians could purchase an entire province today. [News release]
  • How much did Canada’s top 100 CEOs get paid last year? The Globe & Mail is due to update this list with 2013 figures soon. [List]

We give back in a big way

  • The late Doc Seaman left $117 million from his estate to the Calgary Foundation last year. It’s the largest ever gift to a Canadian community foundation.  (Did I mention we’re getting older, as well?)
  • The Slaight family gave $50 million to a consortium of five hospitals in Toronto.
  • An impressive 13.3 million Canadians volunteer 2.1 billion hours, according to Volunteer Canada.
  • KCI provides an addictive scroll of recent Canadian giving by individuals, corporations and foundations.
  • Blackbaud’s new Giving Index provides a monthly snapshot of our generosity. (Things are looking up.)

We are social

…but slightly more conservative in our approach to shameless self-promotion!

  • There are 8 million+ LinkedIn users, as of 2013. [Infographic]
  • Twitter opened a Canadian branch in Toronto primarily to drive advertising and sales.
  • Planning timed tweets? You may be using HootSuite which was born in Vancouver and is rapidly expanding, thanks to securing $165 million in financing.
  • Can’t get enough of Canada? Consider attending the upcoming APRA-Canada conference in Toronto this fall. This is a highly-anticipated and well-organized biennial conference with a focus on Canadian-based research resources, issues and trends.

About Preeti Gill

Preeti-2Preeti Gill is passionate about all things prospect research, pipeline management and charity capacity-building. She works at Canada’s largest community foundation in Vancouver and blogs at Sole Searcher [preetigillyvr.blogspot.ca]. With true patriot love, she welcomes social contact here and there:

Common Prospect Research Myths

magicLampSM
For best results, rub vigorously!

I sent a request out to prospect researchers on the APRA PRSPCT-L list-serv asking them to share common prospect research myths. Following is a summary of my favorite responses!

Myth: Everyone over age 60 is a planned gift prospect.

Fact: While age is a factor, affinity is also an important predictor of planned giving and statistical data modeling is even better at predicting who is a likely planned giver.

Myth: Lots of real estate holdings makes someone a major/planned gift prospect.

Fact: We have a lot of real estate investors, large and small, in the Pacific NW.  People buy a few apartment or commercial buildings as a retirement investment and they accrue in value, so development officers think the prospects can give big.  I have to educate them that, unless they are giving us the building, capacity is based on income from the building and that I calculate capacity differently for personal real estate and income-generating real estate.

Myth: We need to know the prospect’s net worth.

Fact: Net worth is all of someone’s assets minus all of their liabilities. We can’t know all of either, because that includes a lot of private information.

Myth: Prospect researchers can find anything about anyone, including: how much is in their bank accounts; personal tax records; credit history; social security numbers; or wills.

Fact: Much information is private, like the examples above, and is not available to us legally or ethically.

Myth: Google. You can find everything on Google. Researching is really just Googling a prospect. “I don’t need you—I use Google.” “If you just look harder, you can find out everything about him.”

Fact: Internet search engines can only find about 20% of what is available on the internet. Just ask Mike Bergman who coined the phrase.

Myth: You can just get a report from the “database” with everything, right?

Fact: While software companies that pull information together for us have gotten very sophisticated, there is no “one” database.

Myth: A prospect can be fully researched in less than half an hour, especially with one of those fancy research services we subscribe to—just push a button and a complete profile comes out, right?. Or better yet, do a “quick 10 minute profile” on a prospect. (Sorry, but is this ever possible — ten minutes?)

Fact: Searched, verified, and synthesized information barely starts with an hour. Anything less risks being haphazard, which might help in a pinch, but is far from ideal.

Myth: Very little data about a prospect is needed in order for the researcher to produce a comprehensive profile (such as: name spelled correctly, address, occupation, how someone is related to our organization).

Fact: Names are far more common than most people suspect and a good match requires as much starting information as possible.

Myth: When asked for “a little more information about so-and-so,” true prospect researchers intuitively know exactly how much more information is enough.

Fact: Good communication is a two-way street between the requestor and the researcher. Some process or structure usually helps too.

…And the last MYTH? Well, it isn’t one really. It’s a FACT: In ancient times, before the discoveries of electricity, personal computers, and the internet, prospect researchers lived in lamps and responded to vigorous rubbing.

Other Post You Might Like:

Can you really trust prospect research? 10 things you should know

Do Your Own Research? You Bet!

To Certify or Not To Certify – That is the Question

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery now again the question surfaces, like a blur in the photograph that may or may not be the Loch Ness Monster – should the prospect research field have its own certification? Many professions have certifications to demonstrate proficiency and professionalism in the field. Why not us?

Who is Doing It?

It is often helpful to look at other similar or related fields to discover how they have solved the same problem. For this article I considered the following certifications:

There are many certificate programs offered at nonprofit centers and universities around the country in these professions, but there is something special about having the premier association for your industry offer certification. It implies that a broad swathe of practitioners labored in love to create a comprehensive evaluation of what makes someone in the field good, if not great.

And many times it has the added benefit of being supported by lower costs and financial support in the form of scholarships.

What Do They Have That We Don’t?

Fundraising and library sciences are well-established fields so it’s not so surprising that they would have certifications. And since most in the library sciences receive a Master’s degree in library sciences, it’s not surprising that their certifications represent specialized areas of the field.

But if a relatively new profession like competitive intelligence has a certification, what might be holding prospect research back?

Maybe they have something that we don’t – a name for their professions … Fund Raising .. Competitive Intelligence .. Library Science

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Prospect research is widely recognized within the field of fundraising. Do we need a better, more appropriate, more all-encompassing name?

As many of you know, I am launching a new company, Prospect Research Institute, and am doing phone surveys (so far 44 calls and 19 states plus Canada and Australia) as well as an online survey.

I was taken by surprise to discover that most of the people I have spoken to felt “prospect research” was limited to searching for information on identified prospects and did NOT include data analytics or prospect management.

But then during the ensuing conversation many lapsed unconsciously into using “prospect research” to reference the entire field.

APRA has come out clearly on the subject naming the field “prospect development”.  If we had a recognized name, would certification would follow?

Consider the association examples given. AFP’s CFRE is essentially a test you can take after meeting certain criteria, such as years in the field and dollars raised and requires continuing education credits. SCIP and SLA require completion of a series of courses as well as testing.

Even starting without a readily identified name, if there is a measure of the tasks required to perform our jobs, then training and tests can be developed and shaped into certifications. Perhaps then the names of those certifications could reshape the language of the professionals performing those jobs.

I don’t about you, but I am eagerly anticipating the release of APRA’s newest endeavor – The Body of Knowledge – which will outline what it takes to be good at what we do. And by that I mean prospect search, analytics and management.

graduationcapSMBut Do We Want to be Certified?

The remaining question to be deliberated is not can we have a certification, but do we need or want one?

Common sense suggests that a certification is useful for those entering the field or looking for promotion to a new skill level or skill set. Certifications demonstrate proficiency to employers, especially when they include testing and have a strong reputation.

But many questions remain.

  • In our relatively young profession, will a certification become outdated each time information technology creates new terms and expands the scope of the tasks we perform?
  • Would certification give birth to future generations of researchers with a higher quality, more uniform set of skills?
  • Would different levels of certification encourage more people to join the field or crossover to ever-growing specialties?
  • With a certified “definition” of our field would fundraising employers better recognize our value and create more specific jobs?

Speculation is all part of processing information and defining our future deliberately. I’d love to hear your speculations and opinions on certification in the prospect research field!

Data Mining Resources

I was poking around to see what I might find on the internet and thought I would share my favorite finds related to data mining. I hope you enjoy them too!

Five ways to promote in-house data mining
by Kevin MacDonell

5 reasons every nonprofit should use analytics for fundraising
by Joshua Birkholz

From Stories to Evidence: How Mining Data Can Promote Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector
by Technology Innovation Management Review

Fundraising Analytics ABCs
by Helen Brown

The Do’s and Don’ts of Data Mining in Nonprofit Fundraising
by Daniel Neel