A Conversation With Liz Rejman
iWave connected with Liz Rejman, President-Elect of Apra, to chat about the Apra Prospect Development conference, giving trends, privacy challenges, and more.
iWave: Will you be attending Apra Prospect Development 2017 this week? What are you looking forward to most?
Liz: As President-Elect, I will most definitely be in attendance! I’m looking forward most to connecting with Apra members. I love to hear the insights into what new processes people are implementing in their shop or what challenges are being faced by my fellow colleauges. These conversations are so valuable to helping me think and work differently when I return to the office. My favourite session at the conference is the opening plenary. The a-ha moments that come from listening to someone inspirational help me to be a better prospect development professional.
iWave: Prospect research practices are constantly evolving. What can a research professional do to maintain or build momentum in their career?
Liz: Join Apra! Aside from the great educational offerings, the networking opportunities are incredibly valuable. We are a very collegial group that enjoys sharing. You can network in person, online or via social media. Whenever I have a specific question, I reach out to a fellow Apra member and know that they can offer some great insight or direct me to someone else who might have the answer.
iWave: Have you noticed any new giving trends at your own organization or ones you work with? How about trends in philanthropy overall?
Liz: The discussion around overhead and unrestricted funds is something I tackle on an ongoing basis. Major gift donors can be very specific around what they will and will not fund. The restrictions that are placed on an organization can make it difficult to manage. What I’m seeing are organizations becoming more creative in how they package what they offer in order to incorporate admin costs while still honouring the donor’s interests and stipulations.
iWave: With so much talk about Internet privacy, ICO, and more, is prospect research under threat? Why or why not?
Liz: Every Apra member agrees to abide by the Apra Statement of Ethics – but does everyone know that? We need to do more to educate our fellow fundraisers, donors and prospects on how we ethically collect, collate and use data. We need to be explicit about what we use, what we don’t use and how we use it. If we ensure people on that front, I don’t see prospect research under threat.
iWave: Prospect research is also useful for identifying potential volunteer opportunities with donors and prospects. What should a researcher look for as potential indicators of a good volunteer?
Liz: Aignment of values is an important indicator. Another indicator would be giving or volunteer interest – does the potential volunteer have an interest and passion in the work of your organization. If passion and values don’t align, it isn’t going to be fulfilling for the volunteer or the organization.
iWave: If you could give just one piece of advice to a new prospect researcher on their first day, what would you say?
Liz: Prospect research is as much about determining who isn’t a good prospect as it is about finding a great prospect to cultivate. And the reality is, you sometimes won’t find anything out about a prospect, no matter how many bunny trails you follow.
Special thanks to Liz Rejman for connecting with iWave. We wish you all the best in your new role with Apra!