As I listened to my colleagues talking about what they were working on in our staff meeting last Thursday, it occurred to me that the varied nature of the work we do here at HBG is really interesting. It reminded me that one organization I used to work for put on a yearly program for major donors called “A Day in the Life” that brought together these donors with key scientists, faculty members and researchers for a day of lab tours, presentations on new discoveries, and classroom visits where donors could sit in on a lecture. Fascinated by a sneak peek into the cutting edge research, discovery and learning that was happening, donors truly felt a greater understanding of what took place there and how their involvement made a difference.
We’re certainly not a part of a formidable university, but we are a research, teaching and learning organization, and I thought that you might find it interesting to take a tour around our offices (both real and virtual) and get a sneak peek into what goes on during a typical day here at HBG.
Let’s start by walking out the door of my office and through the reception area. Around an angled not-quite-corner is the office where Jennifer and Andrea work. I see Andrea putting the finishing touches on a report to one of our clients that we just helped with an electronic wealth screening. The client, a private school in the United Kingdom, wanted to know who their top 10 prospects are within their US-based alumni. Our contact “J” plans to show the report and brief biographies Andrea created to their US support foundation board next week. Andrea tells me they’ve got some great potential donors, and she’s looking forward to hearing how the results were received and how the meetings went.
Her office mate Jen is in a buoyant mood today (which to be honest is pretty typical for Jen – especially when Oreos are nearby, as they are today). Jen just got off the phone with “C,” a fundraiser at a health-related non-governmental organization (NGO). Jen provides dedicated research support to the NGO 18 hours per week, and right now they are building up their prospect pipeline. Jen just found out that C got appointments with six of the people she recently identified, and that two individuals Jen previously identified just agreed to serve on a new advisory board.
As I walk out of Jen and Andrea’s office, I come to our common room. This space serves as a meeting area and lunch room but since it has a bay window, a couch, a coffee table and a few nice chairs we tend to call it the “living room.” It’s also home to the HBG candy dish, a group effort which currently features a selection of hard caramels brought back from Costa Rica. Naturally, I have to make sure they’re still edible 😉 as I pass by to visit Maureen, HBG’s Director of Research.
Maureen’s office is on the other side of the living room. She’s on the phone at the moment, interviewing a director of prospect research at a hospital who is kindly participating in a landscape analysis we’re doing on behalf of a client. We have discovered through our work with this client that they are completely deserving of all the respect they get as a fundraising powerhouse. Always eager to stay at the cutting edge, our client wanted to be sure they were performing well compared to their peers. Maureen is responsible for interviewing prospect research leaders at four peer institutions and pulling together their information in a neat grid to share with our client and all the interviewees.
Moving out of the office and into the ether, Kenny, Rick, Elizabeth and Heather all work from their virtual offices. As a group we communicate most often with each other via instant messaging when we have something quick to say or ask, so back in my office I get in touch with them via IM to find out what they’re up to at this moment.
Kenny reports that he’s just finished up and sent off two full profiles for the client he works with on a dedicated half-time basis. His next project is an in-depth profile of a company, one of Kenny’s specialties.
Rick’s in the middle of a prospect identification project for a school of communications at a university. The school is hoping to partner with high net worth philanthropists in their area with a demonstrated interest in investigative reporting, emerging media technology, sports communication, and science and health journalism. Rick’s a crossword puzzle fan, and I wonder if projects like this provide him a fun puzzle with a meaningful solution.
Elizabeth and Heather are working collaboratively on a project to parse out the top philanthropists in a particular major US city and discover what these donors support. They’re working together to provide dedicated full-time support to a major biomedical research center that uses their prospect research skills in a lot of creative and strategic ways.
And me? I’ve just sent off a set of post-visit recommendations to one of my favorite new clients in Philadelphia. They’ve just built a young (in experience) but intelligent and eager new prospect research and analytics team. We’re working together to get them ready for some seriously transformational fundraising and I spent part of last week doing some training with them. They’re quick learners and I’m really looking forward to visiting with them again soon.
So that’s the tour around the HBG offices today and a glimpse at what a typical day is like for me and my team. We’re busy and enjoying the variety of projects we’re doing. How about you? What projects are you working on today? We’d love to hear!