If you’re a fundraiser with a brand-new prospect research position to fill, where do you go to find the best candidates? Perhaps you are someone who was recently hired as a researcher, prospect manager, or who will be doing fundraising analytics or overseeing research – where are your peeps?
New Orleans! July 22-25, the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) conference will take place in steamy NOLA, where three-and-a-half days of jam-packed training, idea sharing, and candidate-interviewing will be happening.
Even if you’ve been in the field for 20-plus years like me, there are always new people to meet, new tips to pick up and amazing tools to learn about that make the quality of our work better.
It really is the annual event for prospect researchers, not just in the United States but internationally as well. There’s normally a large (and growing) contingent from the United Kingdom and Canada, but delegates have come from as far away as Asia and Australia. There’s usually a crowd of about a thousand of us!
Why do so many come? Because of the quality of prospect research training and education. This is not just a hanging-with-your-buddies type of gathering (although there is a lot of that); conferees come with pencils sharpened and a bunch of blank notepads waiting to be filled. There’s a lot to learn from our peers doing very cool things.
There are 7 tracks…
- Prospect Research
- Relationship Management
- Partners in Fundraising
- Management & Professional Development
- Data Analytics or Prospect Identification
…and 12 pre-conference workshops, including the exceptional New Researchers Symposium, designed to get “newbies” up to speed as quickly as possible, and the Data Analytics Symposium, where the brightest minds in fundraising analytics gather to teach, learn and swap techniques with each other.
And then there’s the keynote by the inspiring Dan Pallotta, of the Charity Defense Council.
I had the pleasure of hearing Dan speak at the NEDRA conference a couple of years ago, and I was one of a packed room of researchers giving him a standing ovation at the end. He’s a truly inspirational speaker and understands the value of the work we do.
Several members of my team and I will be at this year’s APRA conference, and I am excited to be speaking with Gerry Lawless, CEO of iWave on the topic “Trends with Benefits” during both of their vendor sessions.
I hope you will come up and say hello!
A timely article from the Harvard Business Review on getting the most out of a conference: https://hbr.org/2015/07/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-conference