You are on page 1of 8

The Prospector

A Publication of APRA Metro DC


I continue to be honored to serve as president of the APRA Metro
DC chapter and I would like to thank the board members who
have been working with the chapter this year and welcome our
new members!

The chapter has several goals:
To offer quality education programs in addition to a full
day conference;
To provide a newsletter, containing information about
upcoming programs, recent events, etc.;
To provide networking opportunities, both within the
chapter and with other fundraising and/or APRA chapters;
To provide leadership opportunities for our members by
serving on the board or committees;
To provide job openings in development research and
related fields.
We made every effort to achieve these goals as our operative
theme for this year was Discover New Ideas, Learn New
Approaches, Build New Connectionsso I hope we helped you in
some new and innovative ways! We were striving to gather
researchers to share ideas, line up speakers on timely,
informative programs, and collect information from our
colleagues to take back to the office. From our happy hours at
Ping Pong and Zaytinya to our Brown Bag on Data-mining Political
Giving and the Foundation Center Tour and Networking Lunch, we
wanted to get to the heart of inventive ideas and new
connections. We topped it all off with our most recent event, the
very successful 2014 APRA Metro DC Annual Retreat that was held
April 24, 2014 at American University's WAMU Building. We had
over 40 attendees!

From the Presidents Desk
I NS I DE T HI S I S S UE
1 From the Presidents
Desk
2 The Job Board
3 Issue Update:
Campaign Finance
6 Profiling a Winner:
Devon Villa Gessert
7 Looking Beyond Non-
Profits
8 Retreat Pics
UP COMI NG EVE NT S
MARC Dinner Group
5/29/2014 @ Perch Pub
7 pm

Night at the Nationals
6/18/2014 @ Nats Park
5:30pm
(RSVP by 5/22/2014)

Happy Hour @ Prospect
Development 2014
7/31/2014 @ Las Vegas
Time TBD

For more info. visit:
http://aprametrodc.blogs
pot.com/p/events.html
By Devon Villa Gessert
Please see Presidents Message on page 2.
Discover New Ideas | Learn New Approaches | Build New Connections
Newsletter Chair & Editor May 22
nd
, 2014
Daniel Greeley Volume 2 Issue 1


Page 2
The Prospector
Presidents Message from page 1:

We will continue to offer exciting programming throughout this
year with the APRA Metro DC Night at the Nationals coming up
on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 (RSVP Deadline is May 22, 2014!). If
you are going to MARC or APRA's Prospect Development 2014, we
will have events there as well to gather our DC colleagues: Perch
Pub, May 29
th
at 7 pm (MARC) and a happy hour in Las Vegas on
July 31
st
(APRA).

Are you looking to renew your membership? You can now renew
via PayPal on our website (see our Membership page). This is
something we are very excited about around here, so I hope you
will find it helpful. You can also pay for events through this
transaction mode instead of having to bring a check or cash to the
event. Always let us know if you need a receipt.

If you have not seen our new website, please visit us at
www.aprametrodc.net. Additionally, if you are not already
following us, please do so on our Facebook page, LinkedIn Group
and Twitter (@apra_metrodc).

I look forward to seeing everyone at our future events and am
very excited for the 2014/2015 year at APRA Metro DC!
The Job Board (Job Board)
Prospect Research Analyst Smithsonian DC 5/17/2014
Manager, Development Research NPR DC 5/14/2014
Director of the Annual Fund UMD MD 5/6/2014
Development Writer (2) UMD MD 5/6/2014
Market Segmentation Analyst UMD MD 5/5/2014
Director of Annual Giving Maret School DC 5/2/2014
Director, Prospect Development Ntl. Park Fdn. DC 4/30/2014
Associate Director, Prospect Research and
Strategy
Atlantic Council DC 4/25/2014
Graduate School Director of Development UMD DC 4/25/2014
Campaign Officer, Girl Up United Nations Fdn. DC 4/24/2014
Assistant Director of Development, Columbian
College of Arts and Sciences
GWU DC 4/24/2014
Development Officer Ntl. League for Nursing DC 4/24/2014
Research and List Management Coordinator LCV DC 4/23/2014
Fundraising Assistant Ntl. Cmte. to Preserve
Social Security & Medicare
DC 4/15/2014
Director of Individual Giving MD Food Bank MD 4/14/2014

Visit our Resources Page, APRA Intl. and The Chron. of Philan. for current job postings.

The Prospector
Page 3
By Daniel Greeley
In mid-November 2013, I gave a presentation at a Brown Bag
session for APRA Metro DC explaining the current federal
campaign finance limits and discussing how prospect researchers
could use the publicly disclosed campaign finance data in their
fundraising operation. My thesis was that we could use the
campaign finance data as an important tool to both evaluate a
prospects giving capacity as well as learn more about the
prospects biography what their occupation and employment
history is and where they live. In doing so, I briefly discussed the
history of campaign finance regulations and provided a summary
of the most relevant individual contribution limits to prospect
researchers using the data. For those at the presentation, you
may recall, I made a side-note about the current Supreme Court
case at the time dealing with campaign financeMcCutcheon v.
FECstating that campaign finance was continuing to change and
that the case could change some of what I said that day.

Well, now, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in that
case on April 2, 2014. There is a lot of political controversy
surrounding this case, but for the campaign finance novices out
there, you may wonder: how does the ruling change the way we
as prospect researchers use the campaign finance data?

Lets begin with a brief explanation about where the campaign
finance regulations were before the case was decided. The
Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 (aka
McCain-Feingold Act) set forth the current limits an individual
could donate to individual political campaigns and political action
committees (PACs) as well as other regulations. For us prospect
researchers, the important regulations are listed below an
individual could not donate more than:
$2,600 to an individual campaign per election (primary or
general) for the 2014 election cycle ($5,200 for the entire
2014 election) this amount increases after every election
by $100.
$5,000 to any traditional PAC per calendar year.
$10,000 per calendar year to a state, district or local
political committee.
$32,400 per calendar year to a national party committee.
a combined $123,200 in a biennial cycle, of that amount
no more than $48,600 to all candidates in biennial year
and no more than $74,600 PACs and parties (this
increases after every election as well).
Issue Update: What does McCutheon v. FEC Mean for
Prospect Researchers?
Please see Issue Update on page 4.
There is a lot of
political controversy
surrounding this case,
but for the campaign
finance novices out
there, you may
wonder: how does
the ruling change the
way we as prospect
researchers use the
campaign finance
data?

Page 4
The Prospector
Issue Update from page 3:
Now, a political
donor could
contribute as much as
$3.5 million across all
political entities.

In 2010, challengers to BCRA successfully argued in the Supreme
Court case Citizens United v. FEC that the limitations on
donations to outside groupsnow called SuperPACs were
unconstitutional under free speech protections of the 1
st

Amendment. Following from this case, free speech proponents
and individuals fighting for less government regulation brought
forward the current challenge to campaign financeMcCutcheon
v. FEC.

McCutcheon dealt with only the bolded regulation above. Shaun
McCutcheon is a conservative businessman from Alabama who
wanted to give a lot of money to political campaigns in the 2012
election. He gave out a lot, but he argued he would have given
even more if he had not been limited by the aggregate amounts
bolded above. In doing the math, the aggregate limit only allows
a political donor to contribute to a maximum of 18 candidates and
some combination of 2 political party committees and 14 PACs.
Thus, McCutcheon effectively argued that the combined limit
violated his political speech rights. In contrast, people favoring
stricter regulations argued that the limitation was necessary to
prevent corruption.

The Court sided with McCutcheon and struck down the aggregate
limits. Now, a political donor could contribute as much as $3.5
million across all political entities.

But, how does the ruling in this case affect the work prospect
researchers do and how they look at the campaign finance data?

In my previous presentation, I argued that when looking at
political contributions as a giving capacity indicator one had to
take the data in the context of the individual limits. Basically,
while the size of charitable contributions is used to indicate giving
capacity with larger and larger gifts indicating more capacity, in
the realm of political contributions, a $2,600 or even a $1,000
contribution by an individual to a candidate is significant. In fact,
political contributions of any size that are publicly disclosed ($250
or more) can indicate some wealth and puts the prospect in the
top 6 percent of the U.S. population by wealth. This assessment
has not changed with McCutcheon.
Please see Issue Update on page 5.
In fact, political
contributions of any
size that are publicly
disclosed ($250 or
more) can indicate
some wealth and puts
the prospect in the
top 6% of the U.S.
population by
wealth.

The Prospector
Page 5
Issue Update from page 4:

However, the ruling potentially does make it easier to identify the
wealthiest political contributors. There is some debate about how
many people in the U.S. are wealthy enough and inclined to spend
up to $3.5 million every two years when they would not
necessarily receive any hard asset of value in return. Thus, for
most political givers, they will continue to donate at the same
levels they have in the past. However, for the few Americans who
do donate to more political candidates, committees and PACs,
prospect researchers will be able to easily identify them by the
increased number of donations they make rather than the actual
amounts. This would potentially separate out the top tier of
prospects from the top 6 percent mentioned above.

In addition, it can be posited that with this ruling, it may be
easier for prospect researchers to gather even more data about
their prospects. After Citizens United, SuperPACs increased in
popularity as a way for the wealthy to contribute politically. Now
with the aggregate limit removed, wealthy donors who want to
provide support to more candidates can do so directly without the
political disadvantages of donating to SuperPACs. By donating
directly to candidates and traditional PACs, donors contributions
would be subject to the stricter disclosure requirements. Thus,
prospects political donation activity would now be easier for the
world, and more importantly for our purposes, prospect
researchers to see.

The main worry with this ruling in terms of non-profits
fundraising ability is that people can now contribute more to the
political realm thereby possibly decreasing the amount of money
people will have available to contribute to charities.

Only time will tell the true effect of McCutcheon. While it raises
big political questions in terms of free speech, campaign finance
and the power of the wealthy, for prospect researchers purposes
it does not change the way we should use campaign finance data
as a tool in evaluating prospects.
While it raises big political questions in terms of free speech,
campaign finance and the power of the wealthy, for prospect
researchers purposes it does not change the way we should use
campaign finance data as a tool in evaluating prospects.

Page 6
The Prospector
This August in Las Vegas, Devon Villa Gessert will receive APRAs
Distinguished Service Award at Prospect Development 2014. The award
recognizes Devons advancement of the prospect development
profession through her exceptional volunteer contributions. National
recognition of Devons work as APRA Metro DC President, Co-Chair of
MARC, Co-Chair of Prospect Developments Volunteer Committee, Chair
of the Prospect Research Domain for APRAs Body of Knowledge
Committee, and a presenter at AASP, CASE, and Ellucian Live is most
deserved. I sat down with Devon to explore her motivations for serving
our community, the highs and lows of volunteering, and the rewards of
her service.

1) What originally prompted you to volunteer with APRA DC?
At a past MARC Conference, APRA friends and I asked each other
whatever happened to the APRA Metro DC chapter? Conference
attendees approached me asking if I could let them know the status of
the chapter as soon as I had any information. I met many DC area
researchers seeking networking opportunities and right then I saw a need
to revive our chapter. I had never tried anything like this before, so I
gave it a shot. In short, I saw a need and basically fell into volunteering
for the chapter (falling can sometimes be a good thing!)

2) What is most rewarding about volunteering in the prospect
development community?
Working with APRA and APRA Metro DC, I learned new skill sets and
challenged myself. When you volunteer for organizations like these, they
will put you to work! Its never too much for one to handle, but just
enough that you always learn something new, meet interesting people,
and really push yourself which is always a good thing. I also work for a
progressive development office that encourages staff to participate in
professional volunteer opportunities. Having a supportive environment
prompted me to begin giving back to our local research community and
the association that does so much for our profession.

3) What is most challenging about volunteering in the prospect
development community?
I shift between being introverted and being extroverted, so volunteering
gets me out of my comfort zone. It can also be a challenge to juggle my
job and my volunteer duties, but frankly, the experiences Ive had since
volunteering by far outweigh the challenges.
Devon Villa Gessert
President, APRA Metro DC
I met many DC-
area researchers
seeking
networking
opportunities
and right then I
saw a need to
revive our
chapter.
Profiling a Winner: Devon Villa Gessert to receive
prestigious Distinguished Service Award
By Lindsey Nadeau
Please see Distinguished Service on page 7.

The Prospector
Page 7

4) How have these opportunities advanced your career and skill set?
When I meet other researchers through volunteering I pick their brains.
You work closely with a lot of highly skilled research professionals a
gold mine of information awaits! Volunteer opportunities have also
taught me leadership skills that I have transferred to my own position. I
really feel like they have driven me to reach for growth opportunities
that I might not have thought about prior to volunteering.

5) What advice do you have to other Researchers looking to serve the
prospect development community?
Just do it. Get out, reach out, and connect with your peers. We are a
small community and growing every day because our organizations are
seeing how valuable prospect development is to a development office.
Meet researchers in your community and share information. Volunteer at
APRA conferences or with your local chapter. Serve on committees with
APRA International to have a voice in your profession. Get out of your
comfort zone and fall occasionally because where you land has the
potential to take you to some very exciting places.
Prospect research sometimes seems like something completely new,
something for which the definitive guidebook has not yet been written.
But prospect research is really a term for a collection of skills that are
really pretty old, none of which is unique to our profession. As
researchers, we can often gain from this perspective: look beyond the
non-profit sector for the skills you need.

Prospect research seems to have really come into its own in the
Internet age and there is a grain of truth to that. Weve no doubt
benefited from being able to get information more quickly and in greater
amounts than ever before (if you will permit a rather hackneyed
observation). In its essentials, though, prospect research may just as
easily be a product of almost any other agethe typewriter age, even the
age of the printing press. In short, we do our best to predict economic
activity and to collect information. Who would say that either of those
tasks require skills unique to the non-profit sector?
Looking Beyond Non-Profits for the Skills You Need
By Andy McMahon
Distinguished Service from page 6:
Please see Look Beyond on page 8.
You work
closely with a
lot of highly
skilled research
professionals a
gold mine of
information
awaits!
Volunteer
opportunities
have also taught
me leadership
skills

Page 8
The Prospector
Pictures from APRA Metro DCs April 2014 Retreat: Click here to see all of the retreat photos.

APRA Metro DC
P.O. Box 77205
Washington, DC 20013

Phone:
(202) 885-5923
E-mail:
president@aprametrodc.net

To start with consider that we prospect researchers try to predict
economic behavior. Regardless of whether you would have put it that
way, its a big part of your job. But the prediction of economic behavior
was certainly not invented by fundraisers, and will certainly not be
perfected by fundraisers. We seem to have a great deal to learn about
how to market our organization to donors from bona fide data scientists
who have something to say about customer analytics (and who may or
may not have ever heard the term prospect research).

Second, we prospect researchers do our best to collect, check and
summarize information that can help our fundraisers. But surely that
kind of activity was not invented by non-profit fundraisers, either.
Prospect researchers did not invent the informative memo and probably
will not be the group that perfects it. We always have quite a lot to
learn from effective administrators and information analysts, wherever
they happen to work.

None of this is to say that prospect researchers gain nothing from
understanding the steps of the fundraising process and seeing it in
action, day after day. No amount of skill in either data analysis or
information analysis could ever be a substitute. Then again, the same is
true of an understanding of how the fundraising process looks under the
hood. It is not enough to know how asks are made; we also need to
know how to the handle the information we examine as a data
professional first and a prospect researcher second.
Look Beyond from page 7:
An Awesome Learning Experience!
Join Us!


Visit Our New Website!
http://aprametrodc.blogspot.com/

We, prospect
researchers, do
our best to
collect, check
and summarize
information that
can help our
fundraisers.