By Bond Lammey, Apra President
Hello, Apra peeps! I hope you are all safe and healthy given current circumstances. Although much has changed — and will continue to change — in our worlds, I have found comfort in the consistency that this community brings. To no one’s surprise, you, our fellow Apra members have risen to the occasion and shared your expertise during this trying time, and I am so grateful for that.
In this message, I’d like to note a few resources available to help you navigate this crisis, give a special shout out to some of our chapters and committees for the outstanding work they’ve done, and outline what’s next for Apra. Thank you for a moment of your time as I share these updates.
Resources to Help
We’ve heard that you need help and resources to navigate these new and uncertain times. I hope you’ve all taken a moment to review the fantastic information put together in Connections, “Resources to Help Navigate Work and Life Around COVID-19,” covering everything from working remotely, to researching during a crisis, to how best to support your gift officers and fundraisers. Much of this content was sourced by the Connections editorial advisory committee (EAC) in the early days of the pandemic, so please send additional links and resources to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will update this post or create new content based on what you’re finding.
Connections also published “Advice for Prospect Development in the Face of Economic Uncertainty.” This interview features Karen Greene, senior consultant at Marts & Lundy and former Apra board member, who details her experience and lessons learned from the Great Recession of 2008.
The EAC has been hard at work securing additional thought leadership content and again, any suggestions can be sent to the Connections inbox listed above.
The Apra Chapter Committee is hosting regular conversations for chapter leaders and members to connect on the challenges that Apra chapters are facing. Many in our community have been laid off or furloughed, and those still working have experienced job cuts or mass layoffs of colleagues. It is not an easy time to remain positive and feel supported, so Apra wants to make sure we are helping however we can.
The next chapter gathering to discuss this ever-changing environment will be held on Thursday, May 14 at 11am EST. You can register in advance for this session via this link. Space might be limited if there’s a high demand, so check with your chapter leadership to see if your chapter is represented.
We are also planning to host a Town Hall for Apra members to exchange information and connect on issues affecting our industry. Stay tuned for more details and information on how to participate.
In these times of budget cuts and conservative fiscal planning, an annual Apra membership is such an amazing value — there are so many resources on the Apra website, including the Career Center, Connections, PRSPCT-L, the Ethics and Compliance Toolkit, and the Membership Directory, which allows you to find fellow members based on areas of expertise.
Please consider spreading the word for the value of an Apra membership to others who may find themselves trying to figure out how to operate as a solo shop, how to balance prospect development in addition to other duties, and how to continue prospect development work with decreased budgets dedicated to resources and tools.
Let’s Hear It for the Chapters!
I am blown away by how responsive and positive our community is in the midst of challenges. As a member of around 20 Apra chapters, I receive a lot of chapter messaging. The amount of free and low-cost educational options that have been promoted in recent weeks is incredible.
Below is a sample of chapter updates:
- Apra Georgia: Virtual event is May 15
- Apra Great Lakes (conference organized by several chapters): Developed a survey regarding potential fall 2020 event attendance
- Apra Great Plains: Holding monthly office hours for members (not listed on website, reach out to chapter leadership to get invited)
- Apra Greater New York: Cross-promoted webinar on 4/7/2020 with Apra Florida
- Apra Indiana: Has a dedicated COVID-19 resources page
- Apra Maryland: Offering bi-weekly virtual happy hours
- Apra Metro DC: Pivoted March conference to virtual with less than a week’s notice
- Apra Midwest (conference organized by several chapters): Pivoted May 7-8 conference to virtual
- Apra Michigan: Held a webinar/chat related to working remotely on March 26
- Apra Minnesota: Repurposed landing page for current and upcoming events and resources, also includes a fun screen grab of a recent virtual board meeting
- Apra Pennsylvania: Repurposed landing page for current and upcoming events and resources
- Apra Rocky Mountains: Virtual event is May 15
- Apra Virginia: Rolled out a spring webinar series
- Apra Wisconsin: Forwards a variety of resources from other chapters and Apra International via email to members, scrolling list of tweets from official chapter account on website
- CARA: Hosted a virtual session on April 17
- NEDRA: Virtual conversations, including Virtual Vinos (bring your own wine and good ideas)
- OPRN: Moved spring conference to September
If you want to make sure your events are promoted across a large audience, or if you want to know where to find a lot of chapter happenings in one spot, take a look at the Apra Chapters landing page. Contact email@example.com if you have an event you want to add to this list.
What’s Next for Apra
Strategic Plan Update
My last update was focused on our strategic plan, so I wanted to provide some updates. A lot has changed since November, so some of these elements have been postponed or aren’t quite as far along as we’d anticipated. However, we’ve completed work in some key areas:
- The Ethics and Compliance Committee has updated Apra’s Principles of Ethics and Compliance, so be sure to take a look. Up next, that committee will work on a due diligence toolkit, which we’re hearing is an increased need among our membership.
- At the February board meeting, Apra’s finance committee announced the first-ever grant made from the Apra Innovation Fund. The Fund was established in 2019 as a means to support innovative programming and content that would otherwise be beyond the scope of the Apra operating budget. The new project is an online learning management system and an interactive online data science course, which combined will provide an enhanced educational content and online learning experience.
- The Body of Knowledge Committee has been hard at work on its Career Road Map Planning project So far, they have completed brainstorming on the early and mid-career roadmaps, and have created a spreadsheet of resources that were identified as potential assets to point out on the roadmap. These resources are with a designer now to more fully develop into a visual format. I’m confident this will be a helpful tool for so much of our membership.
- As part of Apra’s commitment to explore and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we participated in the Association Forum’s Welcoming Environment Member Survey. This survey is an important step in determining how our members experience DEI issues in our association and their workplace organizations, as well as to identify what our members' DEI needs are. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has reviewed the full results. Here are some fascinating details:
- Apra members would like the association to pursue strategies related to DEI, but Apra's current work in these areas is not always visible outside of conference experiences.
- Our members have a neutral experience related to Apra being a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment. Apra’s goal is to foster an environment in which our values of inclusivity are more deeply felt by our members.
Our next step regarding this survey is to share some of the results with the full membership, and to ask you to provide anonymous information about your identity to help us understand the diversity represented across Apra’s members. The results of the survey are informing our work in DEI, and gathering this information from our members is an important step in ensuring we are supporting representation in governance and programming, and providing needed accommodations.
I realize there are many questions about the Prospect Development conference, too. We remain hopeful that we will be able to hold a safe gathering by August. We recognize, though, that this is a rapidly changing situation. The health and safety of Apra members, event attendees, speakers, sponsors, and staff are our top priority. The Apra board is in ongoing discussions about the state of the conference. We are following the guidance and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and government officials making decisions. We are committed to keeping you informed and will share updates and new information as soon as it is available. I want to thank all of you for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to Apra during this uncertain time.
I look forward to our continued communication and particularly to you joining me for the Annual Business Meeting on June 9. During this meeting, Apra leaders will discuss membership and financial updates, Prospect Development 2020 updates and more. Register here.
Until then, stay safe, stay well, and stay connected! The Apra community is a fantastic one, full of people who want to support each other. I feel so fortunate to call this community home.