The Birthplace of Apra
Development Services Associate, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
APRA-MN: Programming Committee, Former Apra-MN Board Member
Q: How long have you been an Apra-MN member and what was your first Apra experience?
A. I joined Apra-MN in 2006. I can't believe it's been that long! My first Apra experience was attending the International Conference and New Researcher's Symposium in Austin, TX. I had no research experience at all, but knew from that moment I was in the exact right place. I had the best experience and met the most fantastic people, many of whom have become good friends.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Apra-MN?
A. The people are the best! I've never met a group of people who are so willing to help and share their ideas and experience. I love our networking events and can't wait for them to be live again, but until then, the Virtual Happy Hours are a great way to connect.
Q. What do you like most about your career?
A. I have the privilege of working for an organization with a life-saving mission which means a lot to me personally, so my career is rewarding on many levels. Research to me is like a puzzle and I love a challenge. There is nothing better than finding that final piece of information that gets a Gift Officer excited to make that call or take a prospect to the next level.
Q. Best piece of advice you've received?
A. Know when to stop. Sometimes there really is nothing more to find
Joe Hennen, Carleton College: Prospect Research Analyst
1. How long have you been an Apra-MN member and what was your first Apra experience?
Member of APRA-MN since July 2018, when I joined Carleton College as a Prospect Research Analyst. My first experience was attending the APRA International conference and new researcher symposium just a few weeks after starting in this role. It was a whirlwind of learning and networking, and I had a great experience diving right in to the world of prospect development.
2. What do you enjoy most about Apra-MN?
I enjoy having so many opportunities to learn from the diverse experiences of fellow researchers. It has been fascinating to discuss best practices with people who work in many different types of organizations and contexts, as well as to learn about how the work we do has evolved over the years.
3. What do you like most about your career?
I am a continuous learner and a researcher at heart, and so I feel fortunate to be in a role where I have the opportunity to investigate new topics, help answer important questions, and solve problems on a daily basis. I also love working in a field where I can feel confident that my efforts are supporting an important cause and an outstanding organization.
4. Best piece of advice you've received?
Always be willing to remain adaptable and open-minded to new work structures, research methods, and technologies. I would say that 2020 in particular showed me how important it is to focus on being adaptable and resilient.
Prospect Management AnalystMayo Clinic
Programming Committee member
Q. How long have you been an Apra-MN member and what was your first Apra experience?
A. I've been an Apra-MN member since 2018, when I joined Mayo Clinic. My first Apra experience was attending the conference in May 2019. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Mentoring Program.
A. Apra-MN has helped me make connections in the field. I really value my relationship with my past mentor through the Mentoring Program. She's given me so many ideas for how to improve my work, along with ideas for new projects I can pursue. Getting involved with the Programming Committee has helped me build a larger network of people to bounce ideas off and hear how other shops are approaching their work.
A. We're surrounded by stories of gratitude.
A. Foster your curiosity and truly listen to others. Assume everyone you meet knows something you don't.
Mentor and Programming Committee Member
A. I joined Apra-MN in 2008 when the organization I worked for was started to prepare for a feasibility study. My first experience was attending an Apra-MN conference, where I found my people and have stuck with prospect development and the awesome nerds associated with PD and research ever since!
A. The really great professional development opportunities and amazing community of prospect development professionals who support each other.
A. The best things about my career have been the people that I have met along the way! Folks in the fundraising and prospect development fields are really interesting! I also love the variety of people we get to research, the different jobs and lives I get to learn about, and the variety of organizations that I have and currently work with.
A. At my first Apra International conference, Jodi Kohrs told me that I should join the Apra-MN board - it sounded way out of my comfort zone, and it was - but I eventually did and was on the board for 4 years. I got great experience serving on a board, and it made me get out of that comfort zone and meet a lot of new people who I am still friends and colleagues with today!
Associate Director of Philanthropy Operations
The Trust for Public Land
A. Ooh boy....I think I went to my first Apra MN event in 2009, and it was a session about identifying planned giving prospects.
A. The support and camaraderie. This is a group that will share any resource, answer any question, and help with any project if you just ask.
A. I've always loved the puzzle of prospect management. You have a pool of prospects, and a group of relationship managers, and I get to figure out how to get all the right prospects into the right portfolios at the right time, keeping things balanced and equitable.
A. You have to speak up for what you need and want. You're your own best advocate.
Aimee FisherProspect Research OfficerCarleton College
A. I think sometime since 2013. I attended a Fall Conference for Apra-MN at Macalester and really loved the sense of a community in my field. I came back to my office and really pushed to do more Prospect Research. It led me to get a full time research job at Carleton.
A. I love the sense of support among peers and also being able to ask questions or learn new methods for what we do.
A. I love knowing that we are helping to fund raise for worthy causes, whether it's education or healthcare or nonprofits.
A. Be a problem solver, not a complainer! I love to tackle a project that solves a problem!
A. I have been a member of Apra-MN since moving back to Minnesota from the East Coast in 2015. My first experience with the Chapter was reaching out to the board to inquire if they were doing any programming aside from the Conference...that then led to me stepping into a committee member role not long after!
A. The community of researchers is astounding! Having a group of people who understand the special differences in our organizations and donors in Minnesota and the Mid-West is invaluable. I have never met a more dedicated group of people ready to lend a helping hand when it is most needed in both professional and personal spheres!
A. I learn something new all the time. My college self would have been amazed that I understand how SEC filings work or what a Form 4 is!
A. Ask for help from the Apra community---someone always has an answer, a suggestion, or knows a person who can help with whatever you might need.
Prospect Development Associate Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis
A. Five years -- I attended my first spring conference just a few months after taking my first job as a prospect researcher.
A. I love that our chapter is always looking for new ways to engage and educate our members.
A. It's never boring! Every day brings a new question to answer -- and usually a new way of answering it.
Christen Tarantino Director of Advancement Research
Saint Paul Academy and Summit School
A. I've been a member of Apra-MN since moving to Minnesota in 2012, and first joined Apra International and NEDRA as a brand-new prospect researcher at Amherst College in 2006.
A.The members! This is such a supportive community of brilliant and creative thinkers, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.
A. I like how much the profession has grown and changed with the times while still sticking to the fundamentals of using data to build relationships and advance our organizations' missions. When I first started out in the field, I used to describe my job as a cross between a reference librarian and a technical writer. Now I'd say it's more like a cross between a reference librarian and a technical writer...and a data scientist...and a project manager...and a business analyst...and an armchair psychologist. I'm excited to have a career where I can continue to grow and learn new skills, and where no two days are ever quite the same.
A. "Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden."
Donor Development and Analytics Manager
Children's Cancer Research Fund
Q. How long have you been an Apra-MN member?
A. I have been a member since 2017. My predecessor introduced me to her mentor, who in turn made sure I was able to become a mentee. One of my first experiences was attending the Apra-MN spring conference and learning what a large community Apra is, and how important prospect research is as a career. (An actual quote from me in 2017: "Wait, this is a job that people do? Wait, there's like a hundred people here who all do this job?!")
A. Apra-MN is such a welcoming community and a great place to go for guidance when questions arise in my job. I inherited the bones of a prospect management program, and conferences, webinars and the Apra online community had a huge impact on helping me learn the ropes and build my organization's program into something robust and effective. I joined the mentorship program as a mentee very soon after starting my job, and I give my mentor a lot of credit for helping me learn how to be successful in my work.
A. Prospect research is like having a bunch of puzzle pieces in front of you that you piece together; data analytics is finally seeing the pattern of the puzzle emerge. As I have grown my role at my organization, I get to combine all parts of my field into something coherent, and help strategize for success with my development team.
A. Prospect research isn't just a support role - it is an integral part of the fundraising world. Know that and advocate for recognition of your contributions and accomplishments to your fundraising team!