Michael Van Dyke
Principal Business Consultant, Blackbaud, NEW Apra-MN Board Member!
1. How long have you been an Apra-MN member and what was your first Apra experience?
I have been an APRA-MN member on and off since 2004 (so maybe 12ish years in total). I was introduced to the prospect research world and APRA through Fran Corcoran, who was my supervisor at St. Catherine's at the time. My first APRA experience was the International Conference in Toronto in 2004. I met so many wonderful people and learned so much. I had always wanted to be in fundraising, and the conference solidified that even though I wasn't a front line fundraiser, my role was imperative and had a big impact on overall fundraising results.
2. What do you enjoy most about Apra-MN?
I most enjoy the comradery - the spirit of friendly good. Prospect researchers are curious & helpful by nature, which is clear with each event I attend. I find people are welcoming, try to include everyone in the conversation, are open to answering questions or helping someone find a solution to a challenge they are facing. I usually learn something new and meet someone new when I attend events.
3. What do you like most about your career?
In my role as a consultant, I work more on the data analytics and best practice side of things, instead of doing direct prospect research on a daily basis. I love digging into data to determine how to best prioritize prospects and for what purpose, to examine what a healthy portfolio looks like, to consider what information would be most helpful to officers and leadership to establish best practices in building a sustainable pipeline. I am grateful that my responsibilities still allow me to be curious, to dig into things that interest me, and to empower others to use technology and information to make better decisions.
4. Best piece of advice you've received?
There are two: 1. Set a time limit for when you start researching, and get as much done as you can in that time, but when the time is up, that's it -- move on. It's hard sometimes, but important. 2. Build rapport and trust with your officers - they are your eyes and ears on the ground and can be very helpful in verifying or interpreting a specific data point you find in your research.