The Prospector

A Publication of APRA Metro DC
Discover New Ideas | Learn New Approaches | Build New Connections

Newsletter Chair & Editor
Daniel Greeley

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

February 22, 2016
Volume 4 Issue 1

1 Professional
Development

Professional Development:
Beyond Webinars and Workshops

3 The Job Board

By Jennifer Filla

3 Scholarship Deadline
Approaching!
3 “Ask a Manager”
4 Rethinking Donor
Retention Metrics

UPCOMING EVENTS:
“Hello Spring”
March Happy Hour
3/30/2016 @ 5:30pm
Location: Bar Louie
APRA Metro DC
Conference
4/28/2016
Location:
World Wildlife Fund

President of Aspire Research Group LLC and CEO of Prospect Research Institute

Professional development is about much more than webinars and
workshops. When you take the long view, it encompasses
understanding the world you work within, assessing your skills,
creating a road map for training and growth, and staying flexible.
The World in Which We Work
It’s near impossible to direct
your career if you are not clear
on how your current role fits
within the industry. As the
diagram illustrates, the
prospect research profession,
also known by the umbrella
term, prospect development,
currently has three main areas
of focus:
1. Prospect Research
2. Fundraising Analytics
3. Relationship Management

Prospect Development
2016
7/27 through 7/30
Location: Nashville, TN

Prospect development sits within the larger world of fundraising
or more broadly, advancement or fund development. In turn fund
development nests within the not-for-profit industry.

For more info. on these
and other events, visit:
http://aprametrodc.blogs
pot.com/p/events.html

Assessing Your Skills
If you have ever worked with a consultant, they always want to
start with an assessment. And for good reason! If you don’t know
where you are, it is difficult to find out how to get to where you
want to go.
Professional Development continued on page 2.

Page 2

The Prospector

Professional Development from page 1.
Fortunately, our field has access to the APRA Body of Knowledge. You can compare your job
description and your skill at those tasks with what is listed in the Body of Knowledge. You might
discover that you:


Are advanced in some competencies and basic in others
Have competencies in all three areas, but a concentration in one, or vice versa
Have gaps in your skills; tasks you did not realize you should or could be accomplishing

Create a Road Map
Once you have assessed your skills you can set a goal for your destination. You might want to
envision your final destination (What does the pinnacle of your career look like?), or you might
want to start with an annual goal or five-year goal.
What will it take to reach your goal? Identify and list the skills you need to acquire. Don’t forget
the soft skills, such as interpersonal skills, resource management, leadership, change
management, and others.
Then consider the different ways in which you prefer to learn and how your preference might
change with subject matter and job role:



Visual vs. Auditory: Do you like to see concepts illustrated with pictures in video or a book,
or can you listen to a podcast during your commute?
Verbal vs. Physical: Can you read about social network theory or do you need to use
software to solve actual problems that illustrate the concepts?
Logical vs. Emotional: Do you prefer process and order, or do you like to brainstorm and
watch solutions evolve?
Social vs. Solitary: Does interaction with others energize and motivate you, or does it
distract you and you prefer going at your own pace?

Whatever You Do, Stay Flexible
Ideally you will perform your assessment and goal planning at least annually and you can change
the plan as you and the industry continue grow. Whether you are evaluating a learning
opportunity right now, or planning into the future, stay flexible.
For example, when you are open to a change in direction you are ready to take advantage of
opportunity. Maybe you’ve been afraid of statistics, but when a colleague takes emergency leave
you volunteer to help cover, providing a low-pressure environment to learn about statistical
analysis.
Flexibility in learning can also mean stretching out of your comfort zone if it’s the best learning
method. You don’t become skilled at facilitating meetings or making presentations by listening to
a podcast or reading a book. At some point you have to practice with real people.
Your professional development is entirely in your hands. It’s up to you to seek, find, work at, and
sometimes pay for your own improvement – but you are definitely worth it!

Page 3

The Prospector

The Job Board (Job Board)
Global Advancement Research Coordinator
Manager, Research & Prospect Mgmt
Development Analyst
Associate Director, Resource Development
Prospect Research Officer

International Justice Mission
Newseum
National Women’s Law Center
Save the Children
African Wildlife Foundation

DC
DC
DC
DC
DC

2/19/2016
2/16/2016
2/12/2016
2/10/2016
2/1/2016

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

!!Deadline Approaching!!
APRA Metro DC is pleased to announce our new and revamped 2016
scholarship opportunity, generously sponsored by Bentz Whaley
Flessner, to support a chapter member’s professional development
goals! This year’s award will offer flexibility and versatility by
allowing an individual member to tailor it to his/her needs and
experience level.
The scholarship will cover the cost of up to 3 activities, including registration and
travel expenses, totaling no more than $1,250.
For more details, see APRA Metro DC’s website.

Apply now before the February 29, 2016 deadline!!

!!Submit your “Ask a Manager” questions!!
You told us you wanted more professional development. We listened!
APRA Metro DC has started a new anonymous blog where you can ask
seasoned managers for advice.
Are you experiencing a challenge at work? Are you looking to pitch a
new idea to your boss or your team, but you don’t know how to
approach it? Are you struggling with how to engage a difficult
coworker or client? Do you want to advice on how to take the next
leap in your career?

Then submit your questions today to our “Ask a Manager” page.
You may even help a fellow member in the process!

The Prospector

Page 4

Rethinking Donor Retention Metrics
By Thomas Turner
Director of Research and Prospect Management of International Justice Mission

One of the primary ways to measure and report on the overall
health of a donor base is to measure donor retention. As
Bloomerang says, “Nonprofits with a high donor retention rate
have long-term supporters who come back year after year,” which
is what every nonprofit wants. But as a statistical holy grail,
donor retention leaves something to be desired. It is a general
statistic that treats every donor the same no matter what amount
they give year to year. As nonprofits become more nuanced in
terms of segmenting donors, donor retention has not kept up.
Some suggestions for more nuanced approaches to donor
retention have been proposed, such as the Urban Institute’s
suggestion to make modifications to the donor retention new
donors or repeat donors. While this leads to a deeper look at
certain populations, the critique I have of donor retention is that
it only measures the value of a donor, with no attention to the
value of the donation.
As a work in progress, a few of us at International Justice Mission
have begun to explore ways to weigh the value of a donation
within donor retention. The best analogy for this is the use of two
statistics in analyzing baseball: batting average and slugging
percentage. (If you are not a sports fan please just bear with me
for a second). Batting average is like donor retention, it was the
foundational statistic of measuring a baseball player’s
performance for decades. Like donor retention, it is quite simple: 𝐴𝑉𝐺
=

# 𝑜𝑓 𝐻𝑖𝑡𝑠
# 𝑜𝑓 𝐴𝑡 𝐵𝑎𝑡𝑠

About thirty years ago, statisticians and fans began to question
the utility of measuring batting average since it places no value
on the amount of bases that are gained in one hit. So if Player A
hits three singles in four at bats and Player B hits three home runs
in four at bats both would have a batting average of .750. The
statistic that was created to weight the amount of bases gained
on a hit along with the quantity of hits was deemed slugging
percentage: 𝑆𝐿𝐺
=

[(1𝐵) + (2 𝑥 2𝐵) + (3 𝑥 3𝐵) + (4 𝑥 𝐻𝑅)]
# 𝑜𝑓 𝐴𝑡 𝐵𝑎𝑡𝑠

Donor Retention continued on page 5.

“Nonprofits with a
high donor retention
rate have long-term
supporters who come
back year after year”

“As a work in
progress, a few of us
at [IJM] have begun
to explore ways to
weigh the value of a
donation within
donor retention.”

“The best analogy for
this is the use of two
statistics in analyzing
baseball: batting
average and slugging
percentage.”

The Prospector
APRA Metro DC
P.O. Box 2741
Washington, DC 20013
Phone:
(202) 495-3696
E-mail:
president@aprametrodc.net

Join Us!

Visit Our Website!
http://aprametrodc.blogspot.com/
The APRA Metro DC
Board of Directors
Lindsey Nadeau | President
Devon Villa Gessert | Past President
Javier Rodriguez | Programming Chair
Bob Lyon | Secretary
Lauren Turner | Treasurer
Rachel Collins | Communications Chair
Andy McMahon | Membership Chair
Daniel Greeley | Newsletter Chair
Katie Mire | Social Media Chair
Anne Dean | Sponsorship Chair
Thomas Turner | Mentorship Chair
Edward Wynn | At-Large
Leslie Cronen | Ex-Officio

Page 5
Donor Retention from page 4.
The previous equation gives a point per base to each hit, so
Player A’s slugging percentage is .750 (same as their batting
average), while Player B would have a slugging percentage of
3.000. While both players had the same amount of hits,
Player B’s three home runs are shown to be more valuable
than Player A’s three singles.
To bring it back to donor retention, the problem I have with
it is the same problem that statisticians have with batting
average: there is a lack of value placed on the desired
result, which in fundraising is the amount of money raised
and in baseball is the amount of bases.
What we have begun to explore is weighting donor retention
in a way that also gives value to the donation. Donors would
be assigned points based on whether they were not retained,
retained but gave less, retained at the same amount, or
retained along with an increase in giving. By beginning to
calculate donor retention in this way, the overall health of
our donor base would also value the amount of money being
given.

“What we have begun to explore is
weighting donor retention in a way that also
gives value to the donation [amount].”