Book Review: "Prospect Research in Canada: An Essential Guide for Researchers and Fundraisers"

“Prospect Research in Canada: An Essential Guide for Researchers and Fundraisers,” edited by Tracey Church and Liz Rejman, is the Apra Canada Chapter’s labor of love to support prospect development professionals who further the missions of their organizations in Canada. It is a primer to prospect development that is written by Canadians for Canadians, but the information is useful for prospect researchers from all areas.

The book covers a broad range of areas that prospect development professionals touch in their work. The text is organized with a conversational tone, as if the reader is asking questions of a more experienced researcher and being provided with not only answers, but also guidance and options. It starts with an introduction to prospect research and the ethics supporting our work, and wraps up with strategic planning and the future of the field. The chapters on database management, pipeline management and data mining cover extensive information that is valuable to all prospect development shops, but particularly those that are new to those areas of work. The chapter on individual research concentrates on relationship linkages, including volunteer and peer screening, and it also addresses planned giving. Most chapters provide examples and case studies that illustrate approaches to the ever-widening range of situations that prospect development professionals find themselves addressing. One of the final chapters draws attention to diversifying the donor base with international research and sets a tone for when and why it is valuable, while giving a framework for the increasing global landscape in which we live and work.    

Even though the chapters on researching foundations and corporations have many references to Canadian law and resources, they provide real life case studies that anyone — in Canada, the U.S. or beyond — researching foundations and corporations would find valuable. Canadian corporations

APRA_122484-17_Con-March17_Reviews.jpg are the second largest supporter of non-profits in Canada. Knowing that explains the creation of the Apra Canada Private Company Valuation Working Group in 2011. The dedication and work of this group is highlighted in the chapter, and although the information is specific to Canadian companies, it is valuable instruction for any prospect development professional researching companies. 

The authors and editors of this book created a one-stop shop. It does not need to be read cover to cover, but can be digested by reading the chapter that is relevant to what you need to know when you need to know it. The editors and contributors were mindful to include resource lists, and the final chapter provides samples and templates. Yet, with all this information, the best resources this book provides are the authors of each chapter. Often, when books are written by professionals renowned in our field, a prospect researcher might feel intimidated and thus hesitant to contact them directly. “Prospect Research in Canada” feels more like a conference in a book. Each chapter is a presentation with multiple presenters wanting your questions. (And I hear that Canadians are really nice, so I’m hoping that stereotype rings true when reaching out to one of the editors or contributors.)

In the near future, I hope to hire a new member to join the prospect development team I lead.  Most likely, this individual will not have been in prospect development before and may not have worked in fundraising. It’s been a long time since I was a newbie in this field, and the idea of training someone scares me. “Prospect Research in Canada” will be one of the first resources I use to educate a new team member on the many contributions prospect development provides to advancement.  

If you are interested in purchasing “Prospect Research in Canada: An Essential Guide for Researchers and Fundraisers,” click here.

Amy S. Turbes currently holds the position of senior director of strategy, research and development at Creighton University. She has worked in prospect development at Creighton for 10 years. As an Apra member, Turbes has been involved with several committees, including chair of the education and professional development committee and member of the nominations committee and the curriculum planning committee. Her first introduction to the prospect development community was with the Apra-Great Plains Chapter where she previously served as chapter president, conference chair and member-at-large.

1 Comment
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Thanks Amy!

April 5, 2017 01:10 PM by Tracey J. Church, MLIS

Thanks Amy for you insightful review -- and yes, all of the contributors of the book will happily welcome any questions from its readers! It's true, we (Canadians) are nice :)

Tracey

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