Message From the President: 2 New Resources to Advocate For Our Profession


By Misa Lobato, Apra President

Dear Apra members,

Summer is always an exciting time for our community with our annual Prospect Development Conference. This summer has been even more exciting, as we’ve recently rolled out some great Apra resources.

In June, the Apra Ethics and Compliance Committee unveiled the DEI Data Guide. This timely resource meets an urgent need in the nonprofit space. Last year, after the murder of George Floyd, many organizations were joining global social justice movements in a commitment to eradicate white supremacy and systems of oppression. One specific area of focus for many nonprofits was our constituent bases.

As the focus on diversification and inclusion grew, many organizations realized they didn’t have the data needed to measure the diversity of their constituent bases or to identify potential donors and volunteers from historically excluded communities. I heard many stories of nonprofit leaders asking prospect development professionals to provide lists of constituents from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) constituents. However, with the absence of existing practices for asking constituents to self-identify, many prospect development practitioners found themselves relying on identity proxies. This includes affiliations with identity-based associations, philanthropic giving to identity-based organizations, or even photos and names. All of these proxies are flawed and can produce false results.

This led to many conversations around the legal and ethical use of constituent identity data. Identity is a social construct, but it determines many of the ways we see and experience the world. Nonprofit organizations that aspire to be diverse, equitable and inclusive will need identity data to measure their progress. They will also need to develop increased cultural competence in engaging with a diverse array of constituents.

Apra’s DEI Data Guide provides a framework for how to collect, store and use this data. Learn more about the guide in this Q&A with Ethics and Compliance Committee chair Megan Horton and committee member Lori Lawson. We know this guide can help nonprofits develop better practices and ultimately lead us toward a future of inclusive philanthropy.

Speaking of which, it’s Black Philanthropy Month, a great time to learn about and celebrate the cultural practices of philanthropy in the African-descent community. I highly recommend "Madame C.J. Walker's Gospel of Giving," by Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman, who spoke last year at Apra’s Plug In to Campaigns.

Advocacy and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are two key areas of focus at Apra, and one resource in which they intersect is our Salary Survey. Every three years, Apra conducts a member salary survey to get a landscape view of the profession. We measure compensation and other important factors, such as the ratio of prospect development professionals to frontline fundraisers, department budget size and job satisfaction. This year’s survey also evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on salaries, benefits and department size.

The Salary Survey is a crucial advocacy tool for our members. It gives members benchmarking data to take back to your HR departments and demonstrates the market rate for prospect development roles across various regions and organization categories.

DEI comes into play in our measurement of member identity demographics and wage gaps. The results of both of these measurements are disheartening. The prospect development profession is not racially or ethnically diverse: Of the 827 respondents, only a small percentage identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian or Latinx.

A gender wage gap also persists across almost every position level, which was identified in the 2018 survey as well. Since that time, we’ve taken steps to address it by requiring salary ranges in job postings on our Career Center. While the pay gap may be consistent with national trends, it’s still unacceptable, and we should all strive to eliminate it. The causes of gender wage gaps are manifold and include gender discrimination, the disproportionate impact of parental leave for women, bias against women in

Systemic racism is also a significant issue, as the wage gap for Black, Indigenous and Latina women is larger than that for white women. The gender wage gap has been studied extensively, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) provides detailed research on the gender pay gap — and how it intersects with systemic racism — on their website. This is a great resource for developing your knowledge on why the pay gap continues to persist.

Diversification and equity will require our ongoing attention, and the Advocacy and DEI Committees will be developing new resources for Apra members throughout the coming months. Stay tuned for more.

It’s bittersweet to sign off on my last message as Apra President. This past year has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I look forward to continuing to work alongside you as we create a more just and equitable world through philanthropy.





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