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  • 07/14/2021 5:14 PM | Jennifer (Administrator)

    For our July blog post, we wanted to tackle the topic of Donor Advised Funds and talk about the open proposal to change the way these funds function.

    What is a DAF?

    The short answer is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a money-earning holding account focused on charitable contributions that allow a donor to receive an immediate tax benefit, without immediately gifting the money to charity. A donor can contribute assets (e.g., cash, cryptocurrency, liquid assets, etc.) to the account and receive the immediate tax benefit, but the assets remain in the account and are distributed to charitable organizations over time. The donor loses direct ownership of the funds but can advise – over time – where the funds should be distributed. The over time portion is important, because these funds are allowed to grow tax-free within the DAF account. While the DAF can continue to grow, the donor only receives the tax benefits on the amount initially contributed during the tax year the assets were added to the fund.

    Leonardo Dicaprio Cheers Meme - Imgflip

    For example…

    Let’s say a donor was given stock in their company and they are retiring this year. They paid $0 for the stock, which is now worth $25,000. To avoid a capital gains tax of $3,750 they decide to put the stock into the DAF, which nets them a tax deduction of $6,000.[1] These stocks go into the DAF and they can decide when and where they would like to charitably transfer the stock in the future. Conversely, if they sold the stock and gave the proceeds to charity, they would end up being taxed the capital gains ($3,750), the non-profit would only receive $21,250, thus the donor tax deduction would be lowered to $5,100, which nets them a personal tax benefit of $1,350.

    TL;DR …

    (1)    $25,000 → keep → pay $3,750 capital gains tax
    (2)    $25,000 → DAF → receive $6,000 tax deduction
    (3)    $25,000 → sell → pay $3,750 capital gains tax → donate remainder ($21,250) to charity of choice → receive $5,100 deduction (net tax benefit: $1,350)

    DAFs also allow donors to make grants anonymously, though many continue to tie their name to the grants. The important part is that they can contribute to their DAF, receive an immediate tax benefit, and their contribution is set aside solely for charitable uses that they can select for an indefinite period of time.

    DAF grantmaking

    According to the National Philanthropic Trust’s 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report, for the tenth consecutive year, DAFs grew in every key metric. Grants from DAFs accounted for over $25 billion in 2019, which was a 93% increase from 2015. From 2018 to 2019 the assets held in DAFs increased 16.2% to $141.95 billion. That is nearly 142 billion philanthropic dollars not in the hands of charitable organizations. The average size of a DAF account has continued to decrease since 2016, currently averaging around $162,556. The decrease in average size has been attributed, in part, to DAF accounts gaining in popularity, the emergence of employer-sponsored DAF accounts, and many organizations requiring no contribution minimums. This allows donors to open and maintain accounts at a smaller level.

    The report projects that “grantmaking from DAFs to charitable organizations will continue to grow at an extremely high rate in the next Donor-Advised Fund Report.” It points to the global pandemic response as well as racial justice and other urgent issues from 2020 as a driving force for DAF grantmaking.

    What is changing?

    Currently nothing, but there is an active proposal from the Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving (IACG) which is targeting that over time portion we discussed. The proposal is hoping to free up the money currently sitting in DAFs and close the loophole that allows them to be, in essence, mini endowments. To free up these dollars, the proposal suggests creating two different types of DAF accounts with different tax benefits – sort of like an IRA vs. Roth-IRA account structure focusing on tax benefits rather than penalties.

    1.       15-year DAF: Retains the current tax benefit structure, but the funds must be distributed within 15 years.  
    2.       Aligned Benefit Rule: Allows the funds to be distributed over a longer time frame, but the donor only receives the income tax deduction once the funds have been distributed.

    Why should you care?

    Donors who gift via their DAF have a belief in philanthropy and are likely savvy philanthropists. After all, they set aside a specific amount of money to be used toward philanthropy, and there is no tax advantage to be gained or lost by keeping money in the DAF. So – what kind of difference can they make at your organization by investing in your cause? Almost $142 billion is currently invested in DAFs – imagine the impact a portion of that could make if invested at your organization.

    Looking forward

    Whether or not the IACG proposal is accepted as law, it appears that DAF giving will continue to remain a popular choice among donors. If you do not currently have a plan in place for DAF donors, now is the time to set up and assess fundraising strategies as they pertain to DAF donors.

    Keep in mind, if you send a thank you note, it should go to the donor who advised on the grant rather than the institution holding the grant money. So, if a gift came from Fidelity Charitable from Jane Doe’s DAF, you want the thank you note to go to Jane Doe – but you must make sure to remove any reference to tax deduction. The donor is not eligible to receive another tax deduction for the grant. However, the note is a great chance to get them involved at your organization. After all, they have already told you they are interested in philanthropy (i.e., they have a DAF) and a cause (i.e., where they donated.) Now it is up to you to engage them.

    New options are becoming available to make DAF granting easier for donors. For instance, DAF Direct is a free online application you can add to your giving page that helps donors initiate a grant from their DAF to your online fundraising campaign. Additionally, many organizations target communications specifically to DAF donors, knowing there is likely much more in the account that what has been granted. All of this is dependent on making sure you have a good system in place for tracking your DAF grants and the donors who initiated them.

    How are you tracking DAF grants and donors in your database? Do you steward DAF gifts differently? Do you want to learn more from your peers? Drop us a line on social media or email us at to share your process or let us know if you would like to learn more.

  • 05/07/2021 9:24 AM | Jennifer (Administrator)

    “How did you get into prospect development?” is one of my favorite questions to ask anyone in our field. I have yet to meet someone who came into the profession intentionally, rather it seems that most people end up in prospect development through happenstance and pure luck.

    Personally, I wanted to work at a university so I could continue taking classes toward a graduate degree. I applied to anything and everything relevant to my degree and office management experience, but I remember putting stars on the printout of the job description for a Prospect Researcher position, intuitively knowing that prospect research was something that would be a great fit. I had never heard of the profession (or Advancement, if I am being honest), but I knew I loved the idea of solving mysteries and I believed in the power of philanthropy.

    Having worked in the field for over a decade, I have met more than my fair share of researchers. The ones that stick around always seem to have an intuitive way about them – along with a drive to dig deeper and fall into rabbit holes while searching for missing puzzle pieces. When you hire a prospect researcher, you are often hiring someone who has no idea about the profession and building them from the ground up. So, where do you start?

    Local Chapter

    My number one recommendation is to start with your local Apra chapter. If you do not have an active local chapter, be sure to check out the other chapters and join one that fits your professional development budget and goals. You are welcome to join as many chapters as you like, and the cost of the local chapters is much less than that of the larger Apra. It gives you access to local prospect researchers who can help you better understand the intricacies of researching in your area, and it’s easier to attend anything in person if it’s relatively close to where you live. If you have the professional development budget to be a member of a local chapter and the larger chapter, all the better for onboarding; however, you do not need to be a member of the larger Apra to take advantage of many benefits that are ideal for onboarding someone new to prospect development.

    Ethics and Compliance

    On their first day is a great time to introduce your new hire to the Apra Ethics and Compliance Toolkit. This is free to anyone – you do not have to be a member of Apra to access this toolkit – and is the holy grail of prospect development ethical standards. Even as a veteran in the field, you may be asked to do something unethical – this is the place to go to show that while you technically can create a fake social media profile and trick a prospect into accepting a friend request, you won’t do that, as it violates ethical codes of conduct. If you need support for your decision, Apra has your back. When you are onboarding someone new to the field, a great first place to start is with the ethical standards of the profession.

    It’s important to note that this area is not a one-and-done kind of thing; the guidelines change as technology and laws change. Take into consideration the ongoing debate over the usage of Federal Election Commission data in prospecting. Laws changed in 2018 and there is still debate regarding whether or not FEC data can be used when compiling a profile. Note: the current official stance of Apra is that FEC data should not be used in prospecting.


    This leads me to the next stop for any new researcher, which is joining the Prspct-L listservs. Run by Apra, these discussion forums provide invaluable insight into prospect development. Not only can you read what topics are currently trending in the field, but if you have a question in mind, you can also go back and search through the discussions to see if anyone has asked a similar question. Broken into different discussion groups, I like to follow them all by getting an email in the morning with a summary digest of the posts from the previous day – this way my email is not constantly dinging all day, but I’m still getting the discussions and can weigh in on anything of interest. However you prefer to follow ‘the L’, it is a great way for anyone in the field to stay in the know about new topics, services, professional development, and more. It is also an ideal place to ask a question, as you will have access to prospect development professionals from across the world, ready to help out with an answer. (No pressure.)

    Apra Education (Free or Paid)

    Still on the Apra page, be sure to bookmark the Apra Talks, Apra Podcast, and Apra Bytes – all of which are free resources to anyone and they provide insight into prospect development. These can help those new to the field understand the complexity and significance of a career in prospect development. Of course, there are plenty of other professional development opportunities through Apra, if you are with an organization that can provide membership. There is the Apra Fundamentals conference each year that is ideal for those new to the field, as well as the larger PD conference each summer. There is something powerful about joining a large group of prospect development professionals and networking yourself into a group of knowledgeable individuals who can serve as a baseline for any question or policy change you may be considering. This can also be achieved locally through your local Apra chapter, though on a smaller scale.

    Free Training

    As our field is gaining traction, there are learning opportunities popping up in unexpected places. Coursera, which offers free courses on a wide variety of topics, actually has two sections that delve into Prospect Research! These particular classes provide a general overview of the profession with development as the primary audience. These courses on prospect research are part of the larger Major and Principal gift development curriculum, which can give those new to the profession valuable insight into development. Are you looking for training on a specific topic? Try a Google search to see if you can find free training – or better yet, have your new hire do the search. Google is about to become their go-to for all questions, so they might as well get comfortable.   

    Paid Training

    For those looking for more interactive training, the Prospect Research Institute, run by Jennifer Filla, provides an exceptional mix of paid and free resources and training. If you are someone starting a prospect research department without a background in the field, this would be an ideal place to go. They offer classes that can get you up and running quickly in the field, all for a reasonable price. They also provide networking and a support system, to ensure you have all of your questions answered. If you are brand new to prospect research, you may not know that Jennifer Fila and Helen Brown literally wrote the book on Prospect Research for Fundraisers.

    Blogs and Resource Libraries

    Speaking of Helen Brown, her website offers a fantastic blog and growing library of prospect research resources and tools. If you are looking for additional free resources for prospect research, be sure to check out the Apra Carolinas blog outlining our board members favorite free resources, as well as some unexpected ways to use them.

    Service Trainings

    If that hasn’t kept your new hire busy enough during onboarding, keep in mind that most of the software that you use also has training that can be accessed for free. Services such as Foundation Directory Online/Candid, LexisNexis, ResearchPoint, etc. all have free training available within them to get your new researcher up to speed on how to use the products. Whatever services you may use, take a moment to find a link to their training modules and have your new researcher learn from the product how it should best be used. Chances are, they may learn a new trick and pass it along to you!

    Even if you are not a client of the prospect research services (e.g., iWave, DonorSearch, Blackbaud, etc.), you can utilize their webinars, white papers, blog posts, and podcasts. By submerging a new hire in prospect research, it may seem a little overwhelming at first, but these resources help show someone new to the field that this is an exceptional career they have stumbled upon.

    What did we miss? What resources are your go-to when onboarding someone new to the field? Be sure to comment on social media or send us an email to let us know!

    If you are not a member of Apra Carolinas and would like to be, we offer a Membership Scholarship for anyone in North or South Carolina who may be unable to afford the $35 to join. Once you are a member, you can apply for other scholarships to unlock additional professional development funding. Members are able to attend all virtual content for free, receive discounts on in-person conferences, and all of our past recorded webinars are freely available to members on the Member Resources tab. We hold monthly networking sessions open to anyone and strive to provide professional development content aligned with the needs of our members.

  • 03/23/2021 10:59 AM | Jennifer (Administrator)

    Did you attend the fantastic Excel Wrestling 101 webinar by Katie Stanhagen from Western Carolina University? This was our first webinar of the year and it was extremely popular! Remember members, you can catch a recorded version of it on the exclusive Members Resources tab on our website! Katie covered a LOT of material, and the entire webinar was done within Excel – even her agenda! 

    We wanted to cover a few of the tips in the blog this month – what do you want to hear more about? Reach out and let us know!

    Conditional Formatting

    Conditional formatting is one of my favorites and I never used it to find duplicates until Katie’s webinar! Personally, I am a big fan of using conditional formatting on custom scores with color scales of a classic Green-Yellow-Red of a stoplight. When development officers are looking at a list and they see custom scores with three green lights, that means they are cruising along on their way to a major gift!

    One of Katie’s tips was to use conditional formatting to highlight  your duplicates, then sort based on the formatting color. In case you didn’t know, sorting by cell color is another fantastic tip and trick in Excel!

    You can also use conditional formatting to add an icon to your values, which can be formatted in many ways. As with any of these tips and tricks, the most important factor in determining what to use is deciding what you want to show with your data. Are you trying to highlight proposals of a specific value? Are you wanting to compare one value to another? There are so many possibilities and it’s easier than you think!


    A fast and easy way to narrow down a spreadsheet is to use filters. When you apply a filter to your spreadsheet, you can select the data in any column and filter out the rest. For instance, let's say you have a giant spreadsheet of all donors and you want to filter down to only those assigned to a certain fundraiser – click filters and use your fundraiser name column to select the name of the one you are wanting to focus. Perhaps you want to find only prospects living in a specific state – you can do that by using your filters.

    Filters are a fast and easy way to break down lists – but it can lead to issues if you forget which columns are currently filtering or if you want to start copy/pasting blocks of data. If you are wanting to narrow down a list to work from, or share with development, you may want to turn your spreadsheet straight into a pivot table.

    For many projects, simply filtering the data down will give you a quick idea of what to do next. Another tip: When you apply a filter, look to the bottom left corner of the spreadsheet, and it will give you a count of how many rows of data remain on the filtered list versus how many are in the entire spreadsheet.   


    Do you have a perfect database with reporting that meets all your needs? (I’ll wait while you grab a tissue to dry your eyes from laughter or sorrow.) Don’t worry, you are in good company. If you are trying to merge data from different spreadsheets using a unique column they all have in common (e.g., ID number), VLOOKUP can help you locate data in a vertical column, HLOOKUP can help you locate data in a horizontal row, while XLOOKUP can find the value anywhere in the spreadsheet. XLOOKUP is the newer, better, search function that will allow you to search for a value anywhere in the spreadsheet.

    Anyone who has used VLOOKUP knows that it will often return an error if the data isn’t sorted in the right way or if the return value isn’t located in the right place in the spreadsheet. XLOOKUP allows you to return data that is to the right or left of your search data and will search both horizontally and vertically, essentially combining HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP and then making it even better. If you don’t know how to do any of these, just learn XLOOKUP and skip the others.

    XLOOKUP can help you create a single report when you are trying to merge several different exports of data … and/or when you need to fill in a column that gets added to a report after you’ve already formatted the first report and your boss asks you why you didn’t XYZ in your report. All you need is that common unique identifier, like their ID number, and you can use that factor to take data from one list and insert it into another.

    In one example from the webinar, Katie had a list of constituent names and IDs in one spreadsheet and a list of IDs with a ton of data in the other spreadsheet. She showed how to use XLOOKUP to match the ID numbers in the spreadsheets and bring the constituents names into the larger data spreadsheet.

    Pivot Tables

    We can spend an entire webinar on pivot tables (more on that soon!) which are my personal favorite tool. Pivot tables take your spreadsheet of data and allow you to break it down in meaningful ways. Dashboards are basically data visualizations and pivot tables and data visualizations from pivot tables. The best part is that they are EASY to do! In the webinar, Katie broke down a portfolio by the prospect capacities, which allows you to quickly visualize not only the number of prospects within each stage, but what stage each prospect is in, based on their capacity level. We were quickly able to see that there was a solicitation coming for 1 prospect with a $5m+ capacity as well as 4 prospects with $2.5m - $5m capacity who are almost at solicitation.

    With most versions of Excel, you can simply double-click a number in the pivot table and that will generate a list of the data behind those numbers. Want to see the 81 names in Late Cultivation? Simply double-click the 81 in the pivot table and a new sheet will appear showing those names. For more robust pivot capabilities - looking at you KPIs - you may want to turn on Power Pivot in Excel. To do that, simply go to File → Options → Add-ins → Select Power Pivot for Excel → OK

    While you’re activating Add-ins, I suggest you go ahead and activate the Power Map, Data Streamer, and Analysis ToolPak.

    Even without the complexity of Power Pivot, pivot tables are extremely useful for visualizing data and you can add several pivot tables to a single sheet.

    Once you have pivot tables, you can take it a step further by adding pivot charts with filters and sliders - which will quickly adjust all the pivot charts according to specific criteria.

    For instance, if you've pulled out all development portfolios with prospect status, you may want to add graphs to show how many of their prospects are within each stage to determine pipeline flow. Another graph to show open proposals. Perhaps another one that shows proposals that have closed in the past 30 days (celebrate successes!) Then you can create a slider which will allow you to select an individual development officer, which will drill all of your charts down to only their data. That way, with one report you have the option to view everything in the pipeline, then drill in to each individual development officer, or focus on development teams, all without leaving your single spreadsheet in Excel. 

    We are working toward getting another webinar on the schedule to address your pivot table questions and – as always – please reach out and let us know what you would like to learn more about. We are here to help you excel at all that you do! 

    PS: There were many instructive visuals included in the making of this blog, but the size limit to post required their removal. Thank you for reading! 

  • 02/19/2021 9:56 AM | Jennifer (Administrator)

    Whether you are brand new to prospect research or a veteran of the field, some of the most used tools in our toolkits end up being free resources found online. For our February blog post, we wanted to share the love of our favorite free prospecting tools. The board members were each asked to share their favorite free resource(s) and why they love it. This is what your board had to say…

    Real Estate & Spousal Information

    For Emily Hinz and Rachael Walker, their favorite free resource is, which is a one-stop site for tax assessor websites broken down by state and then county. Rachael pointed out a lesser-known feature on the site that further helps your wealth estimates by explaining the assessment multipliers – that is, the factor by which you may need to multiply the assessed value to determine the actual value of the property. Good examples of how this is useful come into play when researching Pennsylvania or New York – places where each county may value the property a little differently. Emily loves to use property ownership not only for wealth assessment, but to confirm marital status by using the data from their deeds. This data can often confirm whether a prospect is married and can clear up questions about past relationships. Mimi Slade agrees that county property records are essential for understanding their tangible assets and uses their physical assets alongside their SEC filings to gauge a baseline for wealth.

    “A lot of assessor websites will give both the assessed and the market value – but not all of them. I’ve more than once been looking at a property on an assessor’s website and thought ‘that can’t be right.’ Check Pulawski and lo and behold, the value is really more like 150% of what I’m seeing on the assessor site.” -Rachael Dietrich Walker

    SEC Filings

    Speaking of SEC filings, what are the 8 most important SEC filings and what do they mean? To find out, Allison Kiglics bookmarked this article from Accounting Today and uses it anytime she is reviewing insider trading documents. It keeps her from opening every single filing and lets her skip straight to the ones with financial information. To see if your prospect has any SEC filings worth searching, Jennifer Vincent loves the simplicity of, which allows you to search by name and/or export large amounts of data to do some proactive searching.


    If you are looking for salaries for those working in the University of North Carolina System, Jennifer suggests you use the UNC Salary Information Database which reports any salary for an employee in the UNC System as well as their position details. It is a great way to confirm employment and find salary in one stop. Similarly, when looking for employees of North Carolina government, public school, or UNC Hospitals, the News & Observer has a link to a database where you can find position details and salaries. Likewise, you can search for any South Carolina state employee with a salary over $50,000 by searching the South Carolina Department of Administration. When looking for a salary range for federal government employees, is a great resource that Merissa Lawson uses regularly. You can use the “federal employee lookup” tool and sometimes you are able to find the exact person’s salary or work history.


    If you are looking for someone who attended college in North Carolina, Allison finds DigitalNC Yearbooks to be extremely helpful for verifying the educational history of a prospect or donor.

    “DigitalNC Yearbooks is a great way to verify that a prospect or donor did in fact earn a Law Degree and MBA from Duke, plus a Biology Degree from Wake Forest, and an Engineering Degree from NC State.” – Allison Kiglics


    While this may seem more applicable to the coastal researchers like Allison at UNC Wilmington, sometimes you come across a prospect with a boat … or a boat creates the path to a prospect. Allison shared that the USCG Vessel Search provides a free way to take a boat name from the marina (or a social media photo) and get the specs on the vessel and/or the owner. It can take a bit of sleuthing, but can lead you to details about the vessel, which gives insight into value. Sometimes you may find the boat is owned by a private company you did not know they had or leads you to a city you did not know they had ties. Then, of course, you will be off to county records to see what else you can find.

    Professional Development

    Daniel Moody says that his favorite free resource is on our Member Resources tab where you can watch our pre-recorded webinars from the past few years. This is only available to Apra Carolinas members, and contains over a dozen pre-recorded webinars on topics pertaining to prospect development. We continue to add more content each year and this resource provides a way to get answers to prospect development questions as they arise at your organization. Maybe your department was not ready for an engagement score last year, so you missed the webinar, but now leadership is discussing how to create one. Hop over to the Member Resources tab and check out that webinar!

    "There are many times that I can't attend the live session, so I'm grateful to be able to go back and view these retroactively for some great content." -Daniel Moody


    Steve Grimes created a Wealth Open Data Dashboard to help assist non-profits in their wealth screening and fundraising strategies. Daniel has this dashboard bookmarked and uses it frequently, since it is a great tool to search through various wealth indicators in a variety of ways.

    Giving and 990s

    To find charitable organizations in a certain state, Jennifer likes to use the ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, which allows you to search for different types of nonprofits and shows annual revenue, locations, and classification. So, if you are looking for grant funding for something related to healthcare, you can search for South Carolina Health nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) type and then look for organizations with high revenue … then dive directly into their 990s to see where they give. You can also search your prospect name on the site to see if someone you are researching is linked to any potential funding through a nonprofit. Merissa uses (formerly Foundation Center and Guidestar) almost daily. It is her favorite free resource for accessing 990s. This site is easy to use and they have historical records of filings, which can help you establish giving patterns. Amy Jackson is a big fan of Foundation Directory Online, which is part of Candid now. Many public libraries have access to their FDO Pro, but if you are planning to access it from a library, Amy recommends you watch their free 1-hour tutorial first, and then bring a flash drive with you so you can download search results and profiles for more in-depth research once you are back at your desk. Candid also has some great e-newsletters delivered straight to your inbox to keep you up to date on subject-based philanthropy, links to resources, and funding alerts.

    “While FDO Professional is a paid resource, it’s FREE to use at many public libraries (search for one that has it near you here.)”  - Amy Jackson

    Anything and Everything

    Finally, if you are looking for a single bookmark to contain most of your bookmarks, Daniel utilizes the Research Links Directory from Aspire Research Group and Jennifer uses the Helen Brown Group Research Links page. They both present a directory that breaks links down into topics and has a legend to let you know which services require subscriptions, free registration, or a mix of both. Most of the links are simply free, with no registration or fees required. Interestingly, a few of our favorite sites listed above are not in the directories, though you will find many many more.

    Image result for no cost meme

    Did we mention your favorite free resource? If not, drop us an email or comment on social media and share your favorite free resource with the chapter!  

  • 01/06/2021 8:31 PM | Jennifer (Administrator)

    Greetings Apra Carolinas Chapter!

    Most of us wanted to rush through 2020, certain that 2021 would undoubtedly be a better and brighter year. Here at your local Apra Carolinas chapter, each year we strive to make sure that every year is better than the last, and this year is no different. As your new president, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the successes of the past year and tell you a bit about what we are planning for the year ahead.

    First and foremost – I want to welcome back the wonderful Apra Carolinas board. Most of the faces are the same as last year, but we have shuffled the deck a little. Our fabulous leader from the past two years, Merissa Lawson, has stepped into the Immediate Past President role, allowing yours truly, Jennifer Vincent, to become President. You may know her best for her hilarious GIFs, but the fantastic Allison Kiglics has agreed to become President-Elect for the next two years. Fear not, there will be plenty of GIFs still coming your way as Communications now falls into the very capable hands of Emily Glesias. Membership questions can still be directed to the ambitious Daniel Moody; the ever-witty Rachael Dietrich Walker will continue to bring outstanding content through her role as Education Chair; the ever reliable Mimi Slade is keeping us on track through her role as Secretary; and Emily Hinz, our terrific Treasurer, will process your invoices before you even knew you wanted to register. Sitara Smith will continue to share her insightful ideas through her role as the SC Regional Representative, and we are thrilled to welcome the dynamic Amy Jackson to the board as the NC Regional Representative, where she can share her vast acumen with all of us.

    Looking back at 2020, I want to thank our amazing board and speakers for the Ross Geller style PIVOT in February/March that led to our first ever Virtual Spring Conference. I would also like to extend a huge thank you to our incredible members who pivoted with us and gave the board excellent feedback through session surveys and membership surveys. We heard what you were saying and applied your insights to the Virtual Fall Conference in October – which was a huge success, by all accounts. We have been chatting it up one morning a month at our Virtual Coffee Chats and we are excited to offer more of those with some additional virtual networking opportunities in 2021.

    Looking ahead, we have exciting plans for 2021!

    You can plan on a virtual spring conference, but this one will be bigger and better than ever. That is all the teaser we will share right now, but get excited, it’s going to be grand! Let’s all cross our fingers as we start planning an in-person fall conference in 2021 – can you believe it? Of course, nothing is set in stone, but we’re working toward getting the band back together for a reunion tour. We will offer up some additional webinar content throughout the year and hope to have a couple of surprises up our sleeves. 

    As always, reach out to any of us – or the chapter email – with any questions or requests, and we look forward to sharing another magnificent year with all of you.

    Jennifer Vincent

    President, Apra Carolinas

  • 11/20/2020 8:57 AM | Apra Carolinas (Administrator)

    Our 2020 virtual Fall conference was a smashing success! 76 unique attendees – an Apra Carolinas conference record – heard from presenters across the country on four important and timely topics. Recaps of the sessions follow; if you missed any, Apra Carolinas members can check out the recordings on our new Member Resources page!

    October 7th – Leadership Annual Giving Panel

    Mandy Baker Queen, Associate Director of Development, NC State University
    Molly Moriarty Russell, Associate Director, Annual Giving, the Oregon State University Foundation
    Drew Phillips, Assistant Director for Discovery and Pipeline Development, the Oregon State University Foundation
    Allison Kiglics, Prospect Development Manager, UNC Wilmington

    Summary by Moderator, Emily Hinz, Apra Carolinas Treasurer, UNC Charlotte

    Leadership Annual Giving (LAG) and Leadership Annual Giving Officers (LAGOs) have become increasingly important to many institutions’ donor retention and pipeline development in recent years. For its first session of the Fall 2020 conference, Apra Carolinas gathered an expert group of panelists to talk about the subject. Leadership annual giving is very different from major giving in many respects. For one thing, with a gift size in the $1,000 - $2,500 range, a pool of prospective prospects could be huge. For another thing, a LAG prospect can move through the entire portfolio cycle – from qualification to solicitation to stewardship – in a single phone call.

    Despite these differences, prospecting and portfolio management is much the same as with major giving. Work with LAGOs to understand their goals and desired outcomes in order to be able to come up with the best prospects. Use data points like affinity, giving history, and event attendance to build your lists. Metrics for LAGOs are not that different from major gift officers, and looking to the dollar amount raised is always a good measurement for success.

    Ultimately, when launching a leadership annual giving program at any institution, collaboration between prospect research and annual giving staff is critical. Clarifying goals, expectations, criteria, and tracking methods on both sides of the prospect development process is the best way to ensure the program’s success.

    October 14th – AI & Machine Learning: The Impact on Prospect Research

    Presenters: Cecelia Poplin and Sarah TeDesco, DonorSearch

    Summary by Emily Glesias, Apra Carolinas NC Regional Rep, Novant Health

    Our presenters, Cecelia Poplin and Sarah TeDesco from DonorSearch, couldn’t have said it better: between the pandemic, recession and unrest, 2020 has truly been a confluence of crisis. What this means for us in nonprofits is that there are new (and sometimes further exposed) pain points within our organizations. The key takeaway was that there’s a LOT of data out there in cyberspace ready to be leveraged; companies and for-profit organizations have been and continue to use this consumer data for nearly every decision they make using emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Nonprofit organizations have not begun to tap into the potential of AI like the private sector but, nearly 83% of those surveyed in 2018 believe that it would improve efficiency, according to Harvard Business Review.

    This is where a nonprofit-centric tool like DonorSearch comes in: the use of AI, predictive modeling and scoring, as well as machine learning and can help advance your ability to do large-batch prospect screenings, deliver rankings and key philanthropic indicators in a timely and meaningful way. A research tool that has the capability to cross-reference your organization’s unique data points to millions of other donors and non-donors within the US is only beginning to bridge the gap for nonprofit organizations to finally leverage the same vast amounts of data that the private sector already uses. To take it a step further, tools like DonorSearch that feature an application programming interface (API) can allow you to connect to any available endpoint within your data or tools to deliver profiles and key data points and summaries which can be automated or triggered to run automatically saving you and your organization time to focus in on your mission and prioritize your donor acquisition strategy. The future of data is huge – and happening now – it’s up to nonprofits to keep up with their private sector counterparts and join in on big data if they’re going to stay savvy.

    October 21st - The True Final Frontier: Corporate and Foundation Research and Relationship Management

    Presenter: Megan Tedeschi, Deputy Director of Prospect Intelligence, UNICEF

    Summary by Mimi Slade, Apra Carolinas Treasurer, Central Carolina Community Foundation

    For the third session of the Apra Carolinas fall conference, Megan Tedeschi spoke on the topic of corporate and foundation giving (or relations, CFR for short). While individual philanthropy was down 6% the first quarter of 2020 (per the Chronicle of Philanthropy), foundations are stepping up to fill in the gap, and some companies have been able to survive and thrive during this challenging time. With institutional funding on the rise, it’s worth the time to build great relationships with the gift officers who focus in this area.

    How can we find these corporations that might be interested in partnering with our organization? PD professionals need to understand fundraisers and know exactly what they are looking for? Set up news alerts for top prospects or funding topics, and look into relationship mapping to be able to understand where your organization’s connections are.

    To help fundraisers understand a CFR prospect, try tailoring a specific template for organizations; delivering content beyond the 990; providing a strategy recommendation; or sharing relationship mapping. An important part of Megan’s profiles is a capacity rating – check out the recording for the details of how Megan comes up with those in the CFR space!

    When it comes to relationship management, keep in mind that CFR prospects are unique in some respects. You must tailor departmental metrics/KPIs specifically for CFR. Just as with major giving portfolios, regular reviews are helpful for CFR, but different metrics may need to be considered.

    October 28th: What’s DEI Got To Do With It?

    Presenter: Chandra Montgomery, University of Southern California

    Summary by Rachael Dietrich Walker, Apra Carolinas Education Chair, Western Carolina University

    The final session of the conference touched on the incredibly important and timely topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Our presenter was Chandra Montgomery, Director of Health Sciences Prospect Development and co-chair of the DEI Council at the University of Southern California, a nationally known speaker on DEI topics, and a member of Apra International’s inaugural DEI Committee. Chandra began by giving us a common vocabulary to use, providing definitions of diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion that attendees said helped to illuminate the topic for them in ways it hadn’t been before.  The key lesson here, in Chandra’s impactful words: “Diverse” is an adjective. People are nouns.

    With a baseline understanding of the concepts, Chandra moved into discussing how they affect our work in development: from creating awareness our biases in pipeline development and algorithms, to working to be more inclusive in everything from our language to our affinity groups, to looking beyond the usual suspects for major and principal gifts. Next, she gave some suggestions for strategizing around DEI implementation: “easy” wins like pronoun inclusivity and a DEI values statement, an implementation arc from aspiration to action to accountability, and the suggestion that an organization should “plan for DEI like you’d plan for a campaign.” Her recommendation for the entire process: “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” She finished by providing resources for both theory and practice, as well as some DEI resources in the Carolinas, including the Foundation for the Carolinas, NC Center for Nonprofits, and the Racial Equity Institute in Greensboro. Attendees came away with lots to think about and a great toolkit for turning these thoughts into practice. Chandra was an incredibly powerful speaker on this crucial topic.

    October 30th: Post-Conference Coffee Chat

    We wrapped up the conference with our monthly networking chat to discuss the takeaways of conference attendees from our various sessions – and to announce our Apra Carolinas Chapter Award Winners! This year’s Professional of the Year is Lauren Mullis from the University of South Carolina, and the Distinguished Service Award recipient is Merissa Lawson from Elon University, our chapter President.

    After the award announcements, our feedback began with the Leadership Annual Giving Panel. The topic was very relevant and attendees enjoyed having the mix of researchers and gift officers on the panel. It was helpful to think about having goals and metrics for establishing a Major Gifts pipeline. It’s important to have someone thinking about LAG as it tends to be a gap where prospects aren’t really addressed in a dedicated way.

    We then shifted to discussing the DEI webinar (Chandra Montgomery). The idea that we should be focused on why diversity is important and what it would add to a team, board, or council, rather than addressing it as a “box to be checked” was thought-provoking. Giving expectations around boards and councils can be too much of a focus when populating those roles and how that may adversely affect who is included. Attendees mentioned that they had attended other DEI sessions but our speaker “synthesized the information so well.”

    Finally, we discussed lessons learned from the Corporation and Foundation Relations webinar (Megan Tedeschi). It was helpful to hear that researchers should be focusing less on information gathering and more on analysis and strategy with these prospects. One person said that they’re interested in working on capacity analysis for corporations and foundations after this session; another said that they would be developing a program to pass along grant information discovered during research to faculty members. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss the AI & Machine Learning presentation.

    That wraps up our 2020 Apra Carolinas Fall Conference. Thank you to everyone for your attendance and participation!

  • 09/15/2020 9:44 AM | Apra Carolinas (Administrator)

    Margaret Valyou (Assistant Director of Prospect Development, Research & Strategy at NC State University) is the recipient of the 2020 Apra Carolina’s Professional Development Scholarship. The scholarship can be applied to any professional development activity offered by Apra Carolinas or Apra International. Margaret used the funds to attend this year's virtual Apra PD Conference in August. She shared the following impressions of her experience through a Q&A session:

    Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been in prospect development?
    I’m originally from New York State and moved to North Carolina to pursue an MPA degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Once I realized that warm spring weather could come as early as February in the South, I was hooked and never moved back north! I’ve worked in the Office of Prospect Development at NC State University for 11 years. Prior to that, I worked at several nonprofits in various fundraising operations roles.

    What did you think of the virtual format of the conference?
    This is the first virtual conference I’ve attended. Overall, it worked out well for me. I enjoyed having options for how much live interaction I wanted in a day. There seemed to be enough flexibility to accommodate both introverts and extroverts, while providing similar networking opportunities that you would find at an in-person conference. I also appreciated the breaks that were built into the schedule. Multiple hours of virtual sessions can be tiring on your body and mind.

    Have you attended Apra PD before this year?
    Yes, several times over the years I’ve worked at NC State.

    Why did you choose this conference in particular?
    A co-worker had previously won the Apra Conference registration in a prize drawing (thank you Apra Carolinas!) but was no longer available to attend. So, I was fortunate to be able to transfer the registration and attend in her place.

    Did you have a favorite session?
    I enjoyed the keynote presentation by Frank Sesno and the parallels he drew between his work and our industry. Some meaningful takeaways for me were:

    - “The key is not necessarily the first question asked but the follow up question/s.”

    - “When you pose a question to others you create a partnership, you invite others into the dialogue, you give them a sense of ownership.”

    - His suggestions on how to structure a successful discussion

    The Corporate and Foundation Research and Relationship Management session by Megan Tedeschi was also interesting because she walked through how her shop determines capacity on organizations, which is always a great topic. It was helpful that she outlined several options and described the methodology. [Editor's Note: We're glad you enjoyed it, Margaret! Megan will be presenting that session for us as part of our Apra Carolinas fall conference, so plan to register if you missed it at PD!] 

    Did you notice any common themes throughout the sessions? The idea of how much/what kind of data to collect and then what to do with it once you have it – in terms of ethical data use, privacy regulations, and diversity/inclusion – was an overall theme referenced in most of the sessions I attended.

    Did anything unique stick out about this conference as compared to others you’ve attended?

    As you might expect, the uncertainty and urgency spawned by the pandemic and social injustice protests were at the top of most people’s minds at this conference.  

    Is there one thing that you’re committed to making happen at your organization as a direct result of attending the conference? I had already been thinking about the idea of diversity in prospect pools. How do we increase diversity within the research process of identifying suspects when we’re working on a data level and dealing with data points, not people with individual characteristics? There were a couple conference sessions that touched on this and gave me some different ways to think about it, so I’ll definitely be continuing down that road. [Editor's Note: We will also be hosting a wonderful session on DEI at our fall conference, so stay tuned for more details!] 



  • 07/28/2020 9:19 AM | Apra Carolinas (Administrator)

    Firstly, the Apra Carolinas board would like to thank each and every one of our members for participating in this membership survey. We received responses from roughly one-third of our membership at 32%. Drawing from these excellent and detailed responses, it becomes possible to be strategic and find ways to bolster the chapter both in resources provided and engaging our membership base.

    The survey responses indicate a broad spectrum of reasons as to why one became a member of Apra Carolinas in the first place, ranging from “I was encouraged by my supervisor to join” to “Professional development, networking” and more than one response of “I wanted to be informed about best practices.” Similarly, members saw the benefits of joining the chapter in “order to compare notes, trade tips, educational opportunities, and share information.” The responses to these two questions convey that our members are eager to learn & connect with others and continue to be updated with the latest relevant information.

    Following these two questions, we asked our members what they were hoping to gain from being a member of Apra Carolinas. Responses were once again thoughtful, such as “To better myself as a researcher through growth of skills” and “Education through webinars/conferences and connections to others in my area.” Subsequently, we asked what benefits had they already gained from being a member and received responses of …

    • Networking
    • Professional development
    • Webinars, Virtual Content
    • General knowledge in the field

    Our questions regarding conferences showed us that location can be an issue; cost and scheduling conflicts have also prevented some members from attending. Fortunately, we are planning a virtual fall conference in October with events spread over several dates in order to make this more feasible for conference participants. Apra Carolinas members will be able to attend this conference free-of-charge.

    Members had various expectations for conference material including learning tips & tricks, high quality content, and good speakers. These results tell us that conferences are still very much desired and from different perspectives. In regards to conferences, we asked our members where they’d like to see Apra Carolinas conferences take place once travel is possible. Suggestions included the South Carolina cities of Charleston, Greenville, and Bluffton. North Carolina areas volunteered were Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad, and the Research Triangle.

    With the pandemic in full swing, we thought it would be prudent to ask which virtual ways members would like to connect with each other, resulting in an overwhelming vote for Webinars, followed by Roundtables and Happy Hours. In line with these interests, we have a great webinar scheduled for August 12th centered around social media data and making it a meaningful resource. We have held two Happy Hours and a Coffee Break (another soon in August) and a roundtable discussion is currently being constructed to present at our virtual fall conference. Make sure not to miss these offerings!

    We also asked members for something that they wished our chapter provided that isn’t currently in place. Many of our members responded that nothing else is needed, a big compliment which we appreciate! Several responses offered suggestions of mentorships groups, micro gatherings, and a forum or listserv. These are all recommendations that we will take into consideration for the upcoming year. The next question was “What is your favorite go-to resource for prospect development?” Prospect L Listserv was the leading choice, followed by iWave PRO. We’ll be sure to pass along the compliment to iWave, one of our generous sponsors!

    Thanks to those working hard behind the scenes, the Apra Carolinas website received a facelift and has recently been updated with a fresh new look. Regarding the design, a majority of the responses showed an overall positive response to the changes. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, please visit us at

    In regards to our overlap with Apra International, the majority of our members are involved with both. It may help to know that Apra International will be offering discounted memberships for new members in 2021, so we’ll keep you posted with more details! We are pleased to learn that an impressive 44% of our member base have been working 10+ years in prospect development! The next largest group goes to those working for 3-5 years at 22%. This is very helpful for us to know as we plan programming for our conference sessions, webinars, and networking sessions. We’ll do our best to try and provide content that appeals to a range of experience levels.

    In the concluding section, we had asked our members if they would be willing to serve as a resource for the Road Trip grants, which is an opportunity for members to visit other members for professional development. We are happy to report that 31 members responded that yes, they would be willing to serve as a resource. Thank you for your willingness to share your time and expertise!

    We were very happy to learn more about you, the member, from our final question “What is one thing in prospect development that you would like to learn more about?” We were able to see that research, new trends, regional development programs, prospect management meetings, and many more interests are potential areas in which to grow. As always, we are constantly working to provide the best opportunities for our members so we will refer to these topics when we plan upcoming content. We are currently working on a multi-chapter collaborative conference for Spring 2021 so we appreciate all of the excellent ideas.

    Thank you once again for participating in our membership survey. The responses help us to provide more opportunities and better content, benefiting all of our members and the field as a whole!

  • 03/11/2020 2:48 PM | Apra Carolinas (Administrator)

    The latest from Apra Carolinas Blog Post Editor Ashley Smith -- an interview with Jennifer Vincent:

    As prospect researchers and managers, we have developed amazing skills in research, writing, and analysis. What would it be like to take these tools of our trade and move from our ivy towers and nonprofits into the private sector? Jennifer Vincent, formerly at UNC Wilmington (UNCW), made that transition last year when she accepted a newly created position at Blackbaud. In this interview, she shares her experiences working for a private company and offers insights to anyone who may be contemplating a move into a new industry.   

    What led you to make the switch from working in higher education to working in the private sector?

    I fell in love with prospect research and management and didn’t really intend to leave the field; however, it began to feel like I was running out of room for growth after spending almost 12 years at UNCW. Several years ago, I began seeking other challenges in the prospect development field, such as serving on the Apra Carolinas board and presenting at conferences. Last summer when I was presenting at Apra PD, I received the offer from Blackbaud to join their organization in a newly created role, Competency Solutions Engineer. I have a degree in psychology, and my position gives me the opportunity to utilize the skills I acquired in statistics and analytics. It also allows me to stay connected to the nonprofit world – especially to prospect development – and work closely with higher education organizations across the world.

    Does your current role with Blackbaud share any commonalities with your previous position at UNCW?

    Yes! The challenges of account executives are similar to challenges of front-line fundraisers. I’m lucky to work in a more consultative role, where I support the sales teams, much like I supported frontline fundraisers with managing their proposals. I work with the sales teams much like prospect management. I help them identify who the good prospects are, who might be best to contact, review their opportunities, and try to help them meet fiscal year targets and goals. All of that is very similar to what I was doing in prospect management. The main difference is that now I’m the one on the calls with the prospects as we discuss the needs and goals of their organization to best figure out what software solutions are the right fit. I’m still helping nonprofits with major gift fundraising, but through the tools Blackbaud has developed.

    What have been some challenges with the transition?

    Not only am I a relatively new employee at Blackbaud, I’m also new to the private sector. I worked at UNCW for over a decade, so I knew the people and campus community well. I was fortunate to help build the prospect development department, which allowed me to intimately know the ins and outs of the profession. If I didn’t have an answer, I had the knowledge and freedom to create one. With a well-established new employer and a new industry, there are many times where I feel like I’m playing catch up as I learn the products and the systems. Add to that, my colleagues use a lot of acronyms, and I’ve had to create a glossary to help me communicate more effectively. It can be rather confusing, but I love a good challenge.

    What have been some benefits with the transition?

    The opportunity to work remotely! I love having a flexible work schedule and work attire based almost entirely of athletic clothing and blue jeans. I also find it very satisfying to have a job that helps prospect development professionals in lots of different organizations find solutions to problems they’re encountering. I like figuring out what products to recommend to best fit their unique needs. I’ve always loved puzzles, so now I get paid to solve them. While it may seem lonely to work remotely, I am fortunate to spend my days talking about analytics and fundraising with dedicated professionals from all over. Not to mention, I get to continue my relationships with my colleagues at UNCW, while fitting into a brand-new team of fantastic teammates. And yes, the pay and benefits are a big bonus to working in the private sector.

    What do you wish you had known about the move from public to private sector before starting at Blackbaud?

    While I knew that job stability in the private sector is less secure compared to state and nonprofit jobs, I didn’t really understand how quickly things can change. I might be great at my job, but if my position doesn’t add value, it can be eliminated. Assuming I’m a good employee, I could likely find another role, but there’s not a guarantee that it would be a next step I wanted to take.

    What advice would you give to prospect analysts who may be considering a career switch from nonprofit to for-profit employment?

    If you are considering a job in the private sector, be aware that you’re probably going into a faster paced, less secure job environment. Everything happens very quickly; emails are instantly returned, chats are flying in, appointments appear on your calendar – you might start the day with nothing on your calendar and find yourself in back-to-back meetings with entire projects transformed. You might find that you work more hours during the week, which happened to me. Part of the reason for that is I work remotely, so I don’t have the office banter at the water cooler. Additionally, I feel more accountable to the company because I’m not physically going into an office. It’s not uncommon for me to pop in at night to make headway on a project, because I’m more likely to focus without the emails and chats pinging me. That said, you can look forward to the freedom of a long lunch with friends or the ability to go to your kid’s school for a class project. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that values philanthropy and volunteering. They encourage (and incentivize) employees being active in their community. Additionally, Blackbaud wants its customers to be beyond satisfied with the products and services they’re receiving, and my role is to help amplify customer delight to 11 so to speak. Focusing on helping nonprofits helps me feel the warmth I felt while working at a nonprofit, with the additional benefits of the private sector.

  • 02/21/2020 11:42 AM | Apra Carolinas (Administrator)

    We have some new additions to the Apra Carolinas Board for 2020. As we prepare for another great year, please take a moment to get to know these fantastic volunteers and be sure to give them a warm welcome when you see them at an Apra Carolinas event!


    Daniel Moody, Advancement Research Analyst at High Point University

    ·       How many years have you worked in fundraising/prospect research?: I’ve worked in the Prospect Research field for an admittedly short but strong 8 months. I’m looking forward to the 1-year mark in June!

    ·       Briefly summarize your background: Preceding my current position at High Point University, I was an adjunct professor of Sociology. During this time, I was heavily involved in academic research and worked on various projects contributing my use of statistical and theoretical knowledge.

    ·       What inspired you to join the board?: The employee that previously held my very position, McKenzie Diehm, spoke highly of Apra Carolinas which facilitated my joining the group. After attending the Fall conference at WCU, I was very impressed with the individuals and knowledge involved and knew that I could contribute to the success of the organization and field of prospect research. Becoming a Board Member, and specifically Membership chair, would help to facilitate this.

    ·       What are you most proud of in your work?: Besides finding top prospects for our Advancement officers, I’m proud of always fulfilling and going beyond what’s asked of me even if it’s outside of my comfort zone and I need to learn new subject matter to successfully complete the task. I’m also a fan of the maxim “proud but never satisfied” and I believe that I reflect this in my daily work.

    ·       Do you have favorite research tool, site, or trick you can share?: Truthfully, I think the combination of various research tools is what makes me happiest as a prospect researcher, i.e. a main screening tool, obituary databases, reverse phone/address search, geographic wealth ZIP code areas, CEO salary calculators, etc. I’m a big fan of the ReferenceUSA tool for determining estimated business revenue (from InfoGroup) that our library subscribes to. Also – Steve Grimes’ Wealth Open Data Dashboard is an excellent free tool.

    ·       What is your bucket list vacation destination and why?: I would really like to visit Greece. I’m not sure that I could pinpoint a specific reason, but there’s a wealth of culture, scenery, and history that I’d love to someday experience.


    Emily Glesias, Prospect Research Management Supervisor at Novant Health

    ·       How many years have you worked in fundraising/prospect research?: This year will be four!

    ·       Briefly summarize your background: I have been with Novant Health Foundation for four years – first as the database management specialist and now as the prospect research supervisor. My love for fundraising and nonprofit work began in college when I interned with the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA working on development and grant-writing.

    ·       What inspired you to join the board?: As a member, I really enjoyed the educational opportunities that Apra Carolinas offered and wanted to not only network with other researchers but also learn from them and gather as much wisdom as I could when I first started out. Joining the board was an exciting next step for me because I wanted to grow within the chapter and have a seat at the table (quite literally!) when deciding what the future holds for us, as well as giving input on all of the fantastic resources and educational opportunities in store!

    ·       What are you most proud of in your work?: My team is very new and we’ve spent a majority of our time and energy creating brand new processes that are both thoughtful and efficient for prospect research management. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come in the last few years from a buy-in standpoint from all of our other foundation team members, as well as the work we’ve done in implementing prospect data analytics and data management policies for our donor database. I love being able to use our work every day to showcase how remarkable our foundation team’s efforts are and the impact of what they’re accomplishing in our facilities and communities.

    ·       Do you have favorite research tool, site, or trick you can share?: Since we have six market foundations our team supports, and most of them are in NC, I use the NC State GIS site library often. It’s a quick and easy spot to find all NC county property maps without having to click through a bunch of bookmarked pages! I also use the NC Voter Search site to confirm residency, too since NC voter information is available to the public unlike some other states.

    ·       What is your bucket list vacation destination and why?: Ooh, I can’t pick just one! I’ve always been a big fan of genealogy and mapping family trees (big surprise I enjoy prospect research)! Recently, I’ve wanted to plan a heritage trip to trace my lineage back to an ancestral home or region. I have a lot of family that’s from all over Europe and the UK but, I would first love to trace back my family from Ireland and travel there. The origins of my last name are also a big family mystery – we’ve always said it’s Spanish but there’s no evidence – so, finding where it comes from would be exciting too!


    Emily Hinz, Prospect Development Analyst at UNC-Charlotte

    ·       How many years have you worked in fundraising/prospect research?: I joined the prospect research team at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in May, 2017.

    ·       Briefly summarize your background: Before coming to Charlotte, I worked as a Donor Stewardship Specialist for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in my hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia. A small portion of my time there was shared with prospect research, which peaked my interest in the field. I graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2016 with a BA in English, and got my start in non-profit work by interning with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula’s development office.

    ·       What inspired you to join the board?: In 2018, I was the APRA Carolina’s Road Trip Scholarship winner and used the opportunity to visit The Citadel Foundation! I was inspired to join the Apra Carolinas board after connecting with several of the other members at the Apra Prospect Development 2019 conference in Phoenix, AZ. Everyone seemed so welcoming and encouraged me to explore the idea, and I am so glad that I did.

    ·       What are you most proud of in your work?: In my work, I'm most proud of the personal relationships I have cultivated with Development Officers. It helps me to feel that I make a significant contribution to the fundraising process at UNC Charlotte when a DO asks for my advice or thanks me for my research.

    ·       Do you have favorite research tool, site, or trick you can share?: My favorite research tool is definitely iWave. It is a one-stop shop for employment info & email, property value, and philanthropic/political giving. It helps me determine if I've found a good prospect "at a glance."

    ·       What is your bucket list vacation destination and why?: My bucket list vacation destination would be anywhere on the coast of the Mediterannean! Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Greece are all countries that share the #1 spot on my travel list. I would love the gorgeous beaches and all the awesome history the area has as well!

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