In Conversation With 2023 Apra Scholarship Award Recipient Lucy Pastier
Since 2010, the Apra Scholarship Award has been awarded to promote professional growth in the field of prospect development. This award helps ensure accessibility to educational programming by awarding a scholarship to an Apra member based on financial need and professional merit.
As announced at Apra Prospect Development 2023 (PD2023), this year’s winner is Lucy Pastier. Currently an associate director of prospect development at Temple University, Pastier joined the institution in 2018. She previously was the manager of prospect research at the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. Pastier is also an active Apra Pennsylvania member, having joined the board as treasurer in 2023.
Connections reached out to Pastier to learn more about her career in prospect development. What follows is a brief conversation around her path to prospect development, the relationships she’s cultivating in her work at Temple, her take on professional growth and more.
What path took you to prospect development?
Most people tend to fall into the profession, and it was no different for me. I had been working at a nonprofit collecting data from arts and culture organizations, which included looking at funding information. This eventually led to working with funders directly to understand new potential donor partners; it was a real focus on connecting interest and funds.
When a prospect research manager opening came up at the Free Library of Philadelphia, I heard from a friend that it was a great institution, and they thought my background would be a good fit. Despite my lack of formal prospect development training, I jumped at the chance. Without a team to learn from directly (it was a research shop of one), I leaned into professional development opportunities and started attending Apra Pennsylvania conferences. I even had the chance to go to Apra’s PD conference in Nashville. It was thrilling to meet people doing similar work, having similar issues and brainstorming together!
This year you attended PD2023 in Indianapolis. What are the benefits of attending, for you or future scholarship recipients?
The biggest value of attending Apra’s annual conference is seeing the many ways people are using creative problem solving to tackle a variety of problems in prospect development. By interacting with professionals from so many different organizations, you’re exposed to different models that you haven’t considered. When you learn about other approaches, it helps you to take the risk of trying new things and sometimes that can really pay off.
Attending PD puts you in a space where you can share experiences, find out what has been tried and worked (or didn’t work); it won’t be an exact fit for your own organization, but you can take those lessons learned and apply it in your own work.
You currently work at Temple University. What kind of relationships outside of the prospect development team do you try to cultivate there?
Gift officers, definitely! Gift officers and researchers are two sides of the same coin. We are all fundraisers — even if you aren’t making the direct solicitation, what we do is a fundraising activity. And gift officers are also prospect researchers. They are field agents who bring back information they’ve uncovered.
I also try to tap into library staff. They are fantastic at verifying institutional knowledge, especially through older source materials like event programs, commencement, and graduation programs. Looking at yearbooks can even be helpful! That is a real perk at working at a university — the built-in prospects, alumni, are combined with deep knowledge from the institution about its students.
You’re involved with your local Apra chapter, Apra Pennsylvania, as treasurer. How has being connected with peers from other institutions affected your professional life?
Meeting a great cohort of people in the same profession, who are equally as passionate about their work as you are, is invaluable. Plus, it always helps to know who’s working in your field, in your area. I’m better able to understand the local institutions through the people I’ve met. Their openness in sharing gives context to my own work.
How do you grow as a prospect development professional? What makes you better at what you do?
Your biggest assets are curiosity and determination. Having the willingness to sort through a lot to get the information needed is at the core of our work, and when you combine that with non-traditional thinking it makes you a more effective researcher. Sometimes the information needed for a prospect isn’t an exact data point, or it isn’t publicly available. Building up context from what you can find is incredibly important.
From a practical standpoint, building a peer network has been so important to my own growth — and finding support on the Apra Exchange (formerly PRSPCT-L) allows you to reach out for input when you are stuck. Free and affordable programming from Apra and its chapters can be invaluable for small shops or when you’re working on a budget. Make sure to take advantage of what is offered.
Special thanks to DonorSearch for being a sponsor of the Apra Scholarship. Get to know all Apra Award Winners in this video.