Hello, #Aprapeeps! What a busy fall it’s been. I’m just coming off a fantastic and action-packed meeting with the Apra Board of Directors and wanted to take the opportunity to share highlights from our discussions. As you may know, earlier in 2019 the board approved our three-year strategic plan, so much of the conversation at this meeting focused on key elements within that plan. I’ve outlined a few below.
Strategic Goal 1: Understanding of Impact, Objective 4: Position Apra as a thought-leader in fundraising to be seen as a peer organization, as evidenced by additional inquiries for information and education from across the industry.
Strategic Goal 2: Industry Collaboration, Objective 1: Further Apra’s advocacy initiatives by positioning Apra to lead industry conversation and provide thought leadership content with the greater fundraising community.
Whoever thought ethics would be the hip, cool topic in our industry? Apra staff and volunteers have fielded a number of high-profile questions regarding data privacy, due diligence and consumer protection/privacy acts. We were quoted for a Chronicle of Philanthropy story in September called, “How to Protect Your Nonprofit From Controversial Donors.” This led to us being contacted by a large national grantmaking foundation to learn more about Apra’s approach in donor vetting and overall role in transformational fundraising. It also led to a conversation with a reporter from the Financial Times on these same topics. We’ll let you know if any press results from these conversations.
The Ethics & Compliance Committee has been busy developing a number of tools and resources to help you navigate these topics at your organization. Be on the lookout for a due diligence toolkit coming out sometime this year. Thanks to these amazing volunteers for staying abreast of these ever-changing regulations and guidelines!
Keep in mind there are also aasp best practices on a number of related topics, which are available for free to Apra members, thanks to our partnership with aasp.
Strategic Goal 2: Industry Collaboration, Objective 3: Engage with leading prospect development professionals to keep them active in our association and showcase the impact of our profession throughout the industry.
Strategic Goal 3: Education, Objective 4: Outline the ways Apra supports achievement of members’ career aspirations by clearly defining career road maps for those desiring to become subject matter experts as well as those choosing to pursue a leadership path.
There are multiple pathways to career advancement, and our Body of Knowledge committee is hard at work in finding ways to make the Body of Knowledge more interactive, easy to access, and expanding to be useful for individuals with a longer tenure in prospect development or beyond. Expect to see big changes in 2020 in how to navigate the Body of Knowledge.
In addition, a leadership task force is in place to assess the current state of content we have available for individuals in leadership roles, to collect and review member needs, to identify gaps and to present recommendations for the board to implement. This task force has completed one-on-one interviews and is in the process of conducting focus groups. They will present their final report at the February 2020 board meeting.
Strategic Goal 3: Education, Objective 2: Explore whether Apra should provide credentialing to prospect development professionals and make a decision regarding building a credentialing program.
Credentialing is something that has come up occasionally over the years from Apra members. In the six years I’ve been on the board, it hasn’t been a topic we’ve pursued seriously, but there are posts on the L from 2006 and 2010 that indicate a prolonged interest in this topic. If you attended my Apra Talk with Adrian Owen on credentialing, you know that exploring certification is a priority of mine. (If you didn’t see it, you can access via this link and navigate to the 38 minute marker.)
As a board, we explored the topic in more detail at our recent meeting, including the difference between a certificate and certification (see visual below); as well as the legal, financial and logistical implications of pursuing credentialing. We anticipate having all the information we need to know if this is something we should pursue in time for our February 2020 board meeting, so more to come on this exciting topic!
There are certainly a lot of other exciting initiatives underway, including our newly-established Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and related activities. There’s just not enough space to talk about everything in one article! The bottom line is that Apra is thriving and we are diligently working to make sure that we are an association that meets the needs of all of our members.
Please feel free to reach out with questions, ideas, or any other thoughts. As always, if you are interested in making your voice heard, the best way is to sign up as a volunteer.
Here’s to a successful year in 2020!
Bond T. Lammey