Apra Chapter Capture – Q2 2018

Chapter Capture

All over, Apra chapters are organizing events that highlight industry innovation, information and connection. Learn what Apra chapters have been doing this quarter, and discover upcoming events that you can pencil into your schedule.

Apra Canada

On April 27, Apra Canada held a roundtable event hosted at the University of Toronto. Forty-five researchers from across the country attended in person or phoned in for the presentation and participated in the discussion. Topics that were covered included communicating research and using plain language in profiles, leadership and career development, and the future of prospect research. Regional members were encouraged to host get-togethers in their cities so they could join in the discussion together. The University of Calgary hosted a pizza party for 14!

The conference planning committee is busy preparing to launch programming details and open registration for the upcoming Apra Canada Conference (October 17-19, 2018). The chapter is also excited to announce that the inaugural “Apra Canada Excellence in Prospect Research Award” will be presented at this year’s conference. The award will honor an individual who has enhanced the prospect research profession beyond their day-to-day work.


The California Advancement Researchers Association’s (CARA’s) Annual Conference in La Jolla, California, took place in early May. An inspiring keynote was delivered by industry rock star Cecilia Hogan. An engaging program was presented over two beautiful days — the San Diego sunshine did not disappoint! CARA is looking forward to connecting with its members this summer and will once again be hosting a reception at Apra PD in Pittsburg. The chapter’s 2019 conference will take place at Lake Tahoe Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California. Save the date: The conference will be held May 16-17, 2019.

CARA President James Vermillion introducing Cecilia Hogan

La Jolla Shores Beach at sunset

Apra Carolinas

Apra Carolinas is hosting a webinar with iWave: “To Affinity and Beyond: Leveraging Philanthropic History to Fundraise With Confidence.” The best way to predict future giving is by looking at past giving. Join Apra Carolinas to hear about the latest trends in charitable giving, and learn tips and tricks to leverage iWave to get a more comprehensive view of your prospect's propensity and affinity to give. The webinar will take place Wednesday, June 20, at 2 p.m. EST. Register here.

Elizabeth Roma has moved to Chicago for a wonderful opportunity at the Obama Foundation and is no longer president of Apra Carolinas. Missy Garner (Clemson University) and Beth Inman are going to serve as co-presidents for the remainder of the calendar year. Emily Pearce (Charlotte Country Day School) is the chapter’s new communications chair.

Apra Central Southern Texas

Apra Central South Texas is excited to welcome three new members to its board!

Working with non-profits for over 15 years, membership director Leigh Petersen is currently the senior director of advancement services and operations at Southwestern University, where she oversees analytics, prospect development, data integrity, reporting and gift processing. She previously was the director of prospect development at Harvard Business School, where she developed the prospect management, analytics and research teams. Previously, she served as the director of prospect development at Loyola University Chicago. She has presented on prospect development topics at Apra International, Apra Data Analytics Symposium, CASE Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) with Josh Birkholz, OverDrive/Drive and NEDRA.

Treasurer Katie Anaya is a research analyst at the University of Texas at Austin. She has been at UT Austin in various development-related capacities since 2011. She began her development career as a development associate for the College of Fine Arts and Department of Art and Art History. As a research analyst, she currently works with the College of Liberal Arts. She has been a Longhorn for life, and earned degrees in art history and Plan II from UT Austin.

Director at large Sarah Brandt is the director of prospect management and research at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She joined UTSA in 2008 as part of gearing up for the “We Are UTSA” campaign. Previously, she served as the director of prospect development and analysis at Washington State University for eight years. For nine years, she worked as an analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She started her development career as the director of corporate and foundation relations at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She is the past president of the alumni associations for both Beloit and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

Please look out for an event the chapter will be hosting in the fall. More details to come!

Apra Georgia

Apra Georgia held a very successful two-day spring conference in May focusing on
“Prospect Development – Trends and Strategies.” The Boys and Girls Clubs of America hosted the event in Atlanta. It was a great opportunity to hear the expertise of 10 dynamic speakers:

  • Bernardo Villasenor, Emory University, “Establishing a Prospect Management Program”
  • Glenn Williams, Emory University, “‘Winning with Simplicity’: How to Win Your Organization’s Confidence in Using a Data Analysis Tool”
  • Jon Thorsen, George Washington University, “Expanding Our Reach – Tying the Expertise of Information Management to the Needs of Development”
  • Susan Klopper, Emory University, “Business Research Survival Toolkit”
  • Angie Stapleton, The Helen Brown Group, “Crypto-philanthropy: Digital Currency in the Social Sector”
  • Elizabeth Roma, The Obama Foundation, “Prospect Identification: The Tried, The True and What’s New”
  • Roslyn Clarke, Bentz Whaley, Flessner, “Rating with Real Estate in Expensive Markets”
  • Panel of three experts: Christy Eckoff, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta; Stephen Sherman, Southeastern Council of Foundations; and Brian C. Friedman, Wellspring Association, discussing “Foundations, Family Offices and Donor-Advised Funds: A Philanthropy Perspective”

The conference sponsors were: DonorSearch, Gold Sponsor; RelSci and Advizor Solutions, Inc., Silver Sponsors; and Blackbaud Target Analytics, Bronze Sponsor.

The conference was very informative and offered many opportunities for networking with fellow

Ryan Woronecki, vice president of strategic partnerships, DonorSearch

Jon Thorsen, associate vice president, advancement services, George Washington University

Apra Maryland

Apra Maryland has been working hard to offer more frequent and robust programming to members and friends! In March, the chapter hosted its first “Learn and Network” event, which included an hour-long presentation on building research programs in small shops, followed by a happy hour, where attendees networked and spent social time together. In April, the chapter had a well-attended roundtable on relationship mapping, where attendees chatted and swapped best practices on leveraging networks. In early June, the chapter hosted its first-ever joint event with Apra Pennsylvania. Attendees participated in roundtables on professional development and hiring, pipeline management, and year-end giving before enjoying happy hour together in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Apra Maryland is looking forward to more 2018 programming, including another “Learn and Network” event (this time the presentation will be on pipeline management), a couple more roundtables, and a happy hour to catch up and debrief with folks who attended the International Conference in August. The chapter has also recently kicked off planning for its annual Fall Conference, which will be held in the Baltimore area in late October. More details to come!

Finally, Apra Maryland happy to announce the addition of two new board members to the team: Anya Jones, prospect researcher at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland; and Joanna Schofield, senior associate director of relationship management at the Johns Hopkins Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland. Anya will be working on programming, and Joanna will be focusing on membership.

Apra Metro DC

This past April, the Apra Metro DC chapter held its annual conference. The conference was filled with an impressive roster of speakers who brought to life the Body of Knowledge for more than 85 attendees. The day kicked off with an empowering keynote address from Jay Frost, senior partner at Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners. Jay had the entire room on their feet and excited for the day.

The first presentation was titled “Planning, Balance and Movement: Developing a Strategic Approach to Prospect Research,” and was delivered by Sarah Cadbury, director of prospect research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This presentation gave tools and tricks on how to stay organized and become a tactical player in a fundraising team.

The day continued with Mark Egge’s lively presentation on analytics, “Penguins and Polar Bears: Implementing Analytics in Polar Opposite Programs,” which showed through case studies that analytics can be implemented at different types of shops. The presentation successfully made the case that analytics do not need to be an intimidating topic.

Later, Pamela Lewis, director of research and prospect management at George Mason University shared her systematic research and prospect management plan that has made her shop a success. “Building a Prospect Management Program: PRIMED for Success!” showcased Lewis’ strategies to leverage knowledge, data and action to maximize the return on investments of time, effort and resources — a researcher’s dream!

The day closed with The Sollog Group’s Nicholas Sollog’s take on planning for a capital campaign. Sollog shared his evaluation strategies to determine an organization’s campaign readiness. Complete with handouts and case studies, Sollog’s presentation made the audience reflect upon the inner workings of campaigns of all sizes.

With a commitment to strengthening bonds around its community and sharing best practices, the Apra Metro DC chapter is proud to see its annual conference grow and attract such a roster of expert speakers. The day closed to a lighter note with a networking happy hour. In all, members walked out with a renewed commitment to excellence and enhancing their organization’s missions.

Apra Minnesota

Just last year Apra Minnesota awarded two lucky members professional development grants, and this year the chapter has doubled that capacity to support the following four members in their career pursuits:

  • Penny Anderson, 360 Communities,
  • Hailey Bailey, Make-A-Wish Minnesota,
  • Anne Pollock, Macalester College
  • Kate Wilson, The Basilica of St. Mary

While Apra Minnesota offers scholarships to Apra-based conferences, these grants are intended to support the development of skills, abilities and leadership not restricted to Apra content and curriculum. Last year for example, Ryan Marshall used his grant to further develop his knowledge of SQL in order to better serve the technology needs of his advancement team.

With such a positive reception, Apra Minnesota plans to continue to offer professional development grants to membership supplemented by its mentoring program and local educational offerings.


The Ohio Prospect Research Network’s (OPRN’s) annual two-day conference was held May 3-4, 2018, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Columbus-Downtown. More than 80 people attended the conference. 

Thursday started with a personal development workshop, “Leading With Your Strengths: Using StrengthsFinder to Build Successful Relationships,” by Stephanie Brouwer of the United Way of Central Indiana. It was followed by a panel discussion, “Prospect Development Career Pathways,” featuring Michael Griffin, senior major gifts officer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Becky Fullmer, executive director of prospect management and research at the University of Cincinnati Foundation; Regina Alhassan, founder of ResearchPRO, LLC & development data and research specialist at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens; and Megan Tope, manager of prospect research and portfolio development at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Signature partner Target Analytics/Blackbaud then presented a vendor demo, prior to a happy hour event and a lively group dinner.

The conference kicked off Friday with a vendor demo from Donor Search and a keynote address, “The Frontier of Fundraising Analytics: Hype or Hope,” by Alexander W. Oftelie of Bentz Whaley Flesser. After the awards luncheon sponsored by iWave and LexisNexis, concurrent breakout sessions were held in which attendees were able to choose between one of two sessions offered during both breakout sessions.

Apra Pennsylvania, OPRN and GG+A will jointly host a happy hour during Apra PD18 on Thursday, August 9, at the Bistro on Penn from 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Apra Pennsylvania

Apra Pennsylvania held a roundtable discussion focusing on small shop prospect research and management on Thursday, May 24, hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Fifteen attendees related challenges while sharing resources and strategies that colleagues could implement in their own work.

Twenty Maryland and Pennsylvania colleagues gathered at Gettysburg College on June 7, 2018, for Apra Maryland and Apra Pennsylvania’s inaugural joint event. Participants cycled through facilitator-led concurrent roundtables discussing pipeline management, year-end giving and professional development. Attendees continued to network as they strolled together to happy hour at a local restaurant.

Apra Pennsylvania will host its 2017 chapter conference on October 9, 2018, at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Apra Wisconsin


Cliona Draper of Marquette University won the 2018 Apra Wisconsin Scholarship. Apra Wisconsin established the scholarship in 2005 to expand professional development opportunities for our members. The award amount has always been equivalent to the Apra Prospect Development early-bird registration rate, but it can be used for any professional development expenses, including training, materials and travel. Cliona is the twelfth Apra Wisconsin member to win the award, and she plans to use her scholarship to attend Prospect Development 2018.

Presidents Award

Amy Disch of Unity Point Health – Meriter Foundation was the 2018 recipient of the Apra Wisconsin Presidents Award. This annual award was established in 2006, and recognizes members who exemplify the innovation, leadership and legacies of past Apra Wisconsin presidents through their contributions to Apra and to our profession. The award recipient receives an engraved plaque, a donation is made in their honor to a charity of their choice, and their boss receives a letter thanking the organization for allowing their volunteer efforts. Amy was recognized this year for her many contributions as a chapter board member, treasurer, conference host and committee volunteer.

Board elections

Every year, half of the Apra Wisconsin board (four of the eight seats) is up for election to serve two-year terms. This year, our members elected Sarah Bernstein of Philanthrodata as president, Julie Nurse of Marquette University as recording secretary, Alex Mendez of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association as treasurer, and Chris Zello of the Milwaukee Public Museum as board member at large.

2018 Spring Conference - #ApraWIWomen

Apra Wisconsin’s 2018 Spring Conference was held May 4 at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, and sponsored by iWave. Our speakers were Preeti Gill of Sole Searcher Strategies and Covenant House Vancouver, and Martha Taylor of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. Preeti and Martha addressed the topic of women’s philanthropy from the points of view of prospect development and frontline fundraising. They got us thinking about the underlying and often unconscious assumptions we make when deciding whom to research, how to determine gift capacity, and how we select, organize and present what we find. In the afternoon we broke into smaller groups for a lively discussion about research pride and innovation, and we capped off the day with a tour of UW Madison’s School of Human Ecology and its 100 Women Wall of Honor.

Milwaukee Networking Event - #ApraMKE2018

This is a new event for Apra Wisconsin, and is designed to welcome both Apra members and non-members to network while talking about prospect research. The free event will be held the afternoon of Thursday, June 21, at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The team from Marquette University — the largest prospect research team in Milwaukee — will lead off the afternoon with a brief presentation about who they are, what they do and how they do it. Then we will break into small groups to talk about prospect research basics, professional development and advocacy. We hope the discussion will answer some questions, help people make new connections and maybe even bring in a few new Apra Wisconsin members.

1 Like
Recent Stories
Ask the Ethicist: Is a Photo Worth 1,000 Headaches?

How Prospect Research Can Turn ‘No’ Into ‘Yes’

7 Steps for Elevating Prospect Research and Data-Driven Decisions to Achieve Fundraising Goals