Partly because there is no college degree in prospect research. High school kids don’t think “Hey! I’m going to be a prospect researcher when I grow up!” Not because it’s not desirable, but because they just don’t know prospect research as a career choice exists. [Read more…]
We kick off October with a guest post from HBG Senior Researcher Kenneth Tavares. Like EF Hutton, when normally-quiet Kenny offers a comment at one of our staff meetings, the rest of the team listens. Kenny always has something insightful to say. Here he guides office introverts in the ways of getting ahead and getting heard. Enjoy!
When I entered the field of prospect research more than 10 years ago, I was admittedly intrigued by the opportunity to not only provide appropriate intelligence, but also to do it with a certain amount of autonomy. [Read more…]
I got an email like this* the other day which just cracked me up:
To: Helen Brown
From: XYZ Company
Subject: The Master List of DNS Terminology
XYZ Company is passionate about internet performance, particularly when it comes to DNS. We realize that DNS, ISC and BIND can be difficult to understand when the terminology is unfamiliar. It’s easier to get the most cost efficiencies from your DNS provider and services if you know the basics. That’s why we’ve created “DNS, ISC and YOU.” This essential e-Book lists the need-to-know terms that you’ll frequently hear when DNS is discussed. Download now and start saving your company money!
The XYZ Company Team
There’s been a sea change in prospect research, and it was front and center at our international industry conference last week. The 27th annual APRA conference, held in steamy Las Vegas, was called “Prospect Development 2014; new approaches, new connections.” The Twitter hashtag was #APRApd2014 (have a look – good stuff there). As always, it was a great conference with lots of meaty takeaways.
Nonetheless, I kept shaking my head every time I saw the conference name or used the hashtag. I’m just having a hard time with “prospect development.” Not the profession – the name. Prospect development is relatively new as a descriptor for what we professionals formerly known as “prospect researchers” do. [Read more…]
In late June, the HBG team hosted Natalie Westfall, a nine-year research veteran and a member of the steering committee of Researchers in Fundraising (RiF) in the United Kingdom. Over Natalie’s 10-day visit, we collaborated on projects, did several show-and-tell sessions with the different resources we each use, and discussed the similarities and differences of prospect research in the US and UK.
One of the similarities we found was the issue of how prospect researchers can be front-and-center in the fundraising operation – true strategy partners. We’re delighted to present some of Natalie’s insight on the topic here.
Prospect Researchers: going beyond the ‘Who’
The Prospect Research specialism has come a long way in its relatively short life; from books to the internet and (hopefully!) a departure from the familiar request that haunts every prospect researcher: ‘can you just Google this person for me?’
These advancements and the desire to add greater value, have in recent years, seen a prospect researcher’s skill set widen beyond traditional research to more advanced data analysis, and using insight from their research to help shape strategic fundraising plans.
I really like this simple flow chart and have used it in a number of planning documents to illustrate how much additional value can be added if the Prospect Research function is allowed to go beyond producing pieces of pure research.
How do you know if there’s researcher potential within you? Nearly every time someone interviews me about prospect research, they ask me “what are the key components of a great prospect researcher?” Here is where I start:
- Natural curiosity
- Tenacity, paired with…
- The ability to know when to stop
These, I think are the top three. The first, natural curiosity, I like to describe in this way: [Read more…]
For some folks it’s Gershwin’s “Summertime” performed by the incomparable Ella. For others it’s James Taylor’s “Summer’s Here.”
For me, it’s always been “The Boys of Summer.” From the opening beats and guitar riffs, I’m instantly sucked back to a hot cloudless day driving in a Mustang by the ocean singing with my friend and Don Henley at the tops of our voices. Don was unable to physically make that gig, but let me tell you, he missed a good one.
I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun. You’ve got your hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby.
What pulls you instantly back to summer when red and gold leaves, or snowflakes, are falling? Is it a song? A scent? A flavor? [Read more…]
My college degree was in English Literature and I just loved researching and writing papers. But after I graduated from Carolina I took a job with a catering company that provided low-cal meals for a clinical diet and fitness center. (To this day, I can remember how many calories are in a third of a cup of corn…half an apple…a piece of pita…)
At 22, I was still trying to work out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and since I’d been a waitress and sous-chef to help pay for college, catering worked while I figured things out. [Read more…]
You need to spring clean your brain – really air it out and get new, fresh ideas in. At least, I know I do. This time of year, I start itching to get out and meet people and learn lots of new things. It’s always worth it when I make the effort.
Counter to what you’ve probably been thinking, I do have more to do than simply wax philosophic about what it means to be a provider of fundraising intelligence. I do sometimes go on a bit when I get passionate about a topic, and I realize that my last few blog posts have been heavy on the forty thousand feet and light on, well, the feet.