One of the most significant things I love about the prospect research profession is the way we help each other.
This was particularly evident last week at the APRA international conference in steamy New Orleans. About a thousand of us were there to learn and share information with each other. Tactics. Strategies. Resources. Reams of new tips and tricks.
If I had a dollar for every murmur (and sometimes exclamation) of delight I overheard because of a new resource shared or discovered, it would have paid for my trip. Our profession is so generous! We keep secrets about our donors, but we share our knowledge with each other willingly.
Every APRA conference I’ve attended has been a bargain compared to what I learned and the relationships I formed with the smart people I met. It’s a bargain worth haggling for.
I think that kind of generosity has a way of boomeranging back on you. Or as APRA President-elect Jennifer MacCormack said so eloquently in her TED-style APRA Talk,
Allies among your colleagues are like a gravity assist.
Think about that for a second as I share a fun space fact:
A year after its launch, the Pluto-bound New Horizons space probe got a super-powerful extra 9,000 mph slingshot-action speed boost from the gravity field surrounding its ally-in-space Jupiter.
Without it, the 9-year trip would have taken New Horizons 50% longer to reach our little Valentine at the edge of our solar system.
Allies at work are like a gravity assist.
The first week I started my consulting business, a fundraising consultant I’d never met called to see if I could provide prospect research training to a client of his. My name was given to the consultant by a fellow researcher and friend. That gig taught me about pricing my services appropriately and the equal hassle/joy of traveling long distances for work. It always pays to do a good job, too, because 10 years later that gig provided me with a well-trained (and by then well-experienced) employee.
The third year after I started my business, a VP for development I had helped during his rocketing career called to ask if HBG could assist his Research team in organizing, verifying and analyzing the results of a multi-vendor analytics/wealth screening project. Sure, I said, no problem. What’s the scope? Five times the size of any project HBG had worked on before, it turned out. I gulped when I did the math, and when he said he understood the implications.
These gravity assists come with responsibility as well, to give back in kind. To make ourselves worthy of the assist.
It’s powerful stuff. Prospect research allies can help you learn and be better at your job. Or provide you with a career boost.
Other fundraisers in your shop can provide a power boost, too.
How have you started cultivating those relationships? How have those gravity assists powered your career? How have you boosted others? Share your stories!