Guest Post by Angie Stapleton, Helen Brown Group
March is one of my favorite months in the fundraising intelligence community. Why? Because it is #ResearchPride month, of course!
Launched a few years ago by the one-and-only Helen Brown, #ResearchPride month exists for one simple reason: to recognize, celebrate, and shower a lot of love on our colleagues in prospect research, prospect management, due diligence, and fundraising data science. In the spirit of the season, I have been reflecting on a few ways to intentionally participate in our community over the next few weeks and thought I would share in case you were also looking for ways to get your #ResearchPride on!
#ResearchPride was born out of a cry to educate and address misconceptions about fundraising intelligence, as well as to advocate for our profession by shining a light on the value it provides to our organizations. Prospect development professionals contribute greatly to the success of their nonprofits by making advancement practices more efficient, strategic, and effective. This month, let’s think of creative ways to reach out to our development colleagues and leaders to share the contributions we are making. It’s also a wonderful time to dust off those pie-in-the-sky goals you had waaaaay back in January and begin building buy-in and advocating for the resources you need to ensure we’re on track to bring outsized value to our missions in 2019.
Every day, I go to work grateful to be surrounded by such brilliant, thoughtful, and generous colleagues. We are a bunch that can expertly craft a prospect management system while throwing down Beastie Boys lyrics – and I am down for it! If you work with a team, schedule an outing specifically to build community and foster fellowship. If you work in a solo shop, why not reach out to colleagues who work at nearby organizations to nurture that relationship over coffee or a great meal? This month, I’ll be sending out notes to colleagues whose work has either inspired or directly impacted me this year to recognize their contributions both to our field and to me personally. In expressing our gratitude and appreciation of others, we continue to build and strengthen our tribes – and make a lot of great friends in the process.
Prospect development professionals are, as a rule, generous with their time and resources. My career has been greatly enriched by so many wonderful professionals who have poured into me – sharing their time, knowledge, and friendship. If you have been waiting to meet a colleague at a nearby shop, benchmark around a particular issue with a peer organization, or get involved with your local Apra chapter, reach out! My guess is you’ll have a time scheduled within the week. No time to meet in person? Connect on Twitter – #ResearchPride, #ProspectResearch, #ProspectManagement – for some of the sharpest and wittiest “co-workers” you didn’t even know you needed!
One of the reasons our community is so inspiring is because it is intentional in its commitment to personal development. One of the best places to learn the newest trends in fundraising intelligence as well as engage others in our field is at a conference – and good news, registration for most spring and summer conferences is open! Check-out APRA, NEDRA, CARA, or your local Apra Chapter to see what best fits your schedule. Limited budget? Take a look at some of the amazing ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, and learning opportunities provided by iWave and other resource providers. If all else fails, take a field trip to your local library for a thought-provoking read on the state of philanthropy.
As we celebrate #ResearchPride this month, my greatest hope is that everyone will remember the best part of fundraising intelligence as a profession is likely… YOU! Everyone in this field comes with a unique spirit and skill set to share with others. If you’ve been in this field for a while, why not mentor someone who is just joining? If you just signed up for a conference, why not take some time to volunteer at the registration desk or as a room monitor? Or, if you are knowledgeable in a particular area or have a great case study to share, why not start crafting a presentation, webinar, or blog post to benefit others along the way?
Friends, I am grateful for this community, the work that we do, and you. Wishing you all a wonderful #ResearchPride month – may it be a time of great learning, engagement, and celebration!
About the author: Angie Stapleton is an Assistant Director of Research with The Helen Brown Group. She has worked in development since 2002, partnering with a wide range of nonprofit institutions in development research, grant writing, and front-line fundraising. She began her professional career at Vanderbilt University in research and prospect development. Angie holds an MPA in nonprofit management from Indiana University and a BS in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. She resides in Nashville, Tenn., and is a member and past president of APRA MidSouth.