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The Prospector

Discover New Ideas | Learn New Approaches | Build New Connections

Newsletter Chair & Editor

Elizabeth Dickson


1 Fact Finding to
3 The Job Board
3 Mentor Program
3 New Board Members
4 Remembering Daniel
Greeley & Doug Miller
5 Conference Recap




July 25, 2016

Volume 4 Issue 2

From Fact Finding to Frontline: An

Interview Featuring New Perspectives
By Sonia Makelele, Katie Mire, and Javier Rodriguez
Sonia Makelele (SM): How did this conversation begin? The catalyst was a job
opening at a prestigious museum. I have never initially thought of what lied
beyond the realm of prospect research, but that job description was everything
I ever wanted. I had the required education in the arts, the years of
experience working in developmentI checked off almost all the boxes, except
for the frontline fundraising experience. I realized that I have never actually
made an ask or filled out an MOU.
Since no one is born a development officer, I started to wonder what that
career trajectory looked like. How does one become a development officer?
How did others make the transition into frontline fundraising? I sat down with
two fellow APRA Metro DC members who had made the switch.

APRA Metro DC is going on

the road to Nashville!

SM: Can you tell us about your current frontline role?

If youre headed to
Prospect Development,
join APRA Metro DC, MD,
PA, and VA for happy hour!

Javier Rodriguez (JR): I am the Associate Director of Development for the College
of Arts and Sciences at American University. My primary function is to connect
alumni from the college, parents of current students and friends of the university
to the initiatives and programs within the College of Arts and Sciences. I work with
the Dean, faculty members and staff across the college to better understand
funding priorities and communicate them to our constituents.

Date: Thursday, July 28th

Location: Conservatory
Wine Bar, Oprlyland
RSVP: here!

Katie Mire (KM): Im an Assistant Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations

(CFR) at Georgetown University. At its core, its essentially a match making role pairing funding priorities of private institutional funders with university research
and initiatives. I work closely with university leadership, faculty and Advancement
colleagues to develop and review proposals with a foundation program officer
perspective in mind.

SM: What made you decide to transition from prospect research to

frontline fundraising? What skills did you acquire as a prospect researcher,
do you think has prepared you to excel as a gift officer?
KM: I knew I desired a forward-facing role that allowed me to become more
integrated in and knowledgeable about the universitys work. CFR was an ideal
specialty to make that jump. Foundation and corporation research along with largescale prospecting still play a huge role of my current position.

From Fact Finding to Frontline continued on page 2.

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The Prospector

From Fact Finding to Frontline from page 1.


Concise writing, whether for grant opportunity website posts, foundation visit briefings for university
leadership, or grant proposals, is another skill I was able to leverage from prospect research.
JR: When I first started my career in Development, I knew Id like to work as a frontline fundraiser at
some point but was mostly eager to take on a more focused role within my shop. The opportunity to build
a research and prospect management program -- where there had been none -- was one that I couldnt
pass up. I was happy to contribute to a specific need the department had, while still growing within this
profession and learning from fundraisers in the process. Eventually, I reached a point where I had been
guiding fundraisers at my organization, providing thoughtful strategy and, in many cases, the talking
points for prospect meetings. Thats when I decided that I not only wanted to craft this strategy but also
execute it. Thus, I decided it was time to explore frontline fundraising roles.
There are plenty of skills from my role as a prospect researcher that have prepared me for my current
role. For one, knowing the work that goes into prospect research has allowed me to better partner with
the research and prospect management team in my current organization. I have also utilized some of my
knowledge of valid sources as a way to confirm or double-check small details that Id rather not put on the
long list of assignments for our research team. Lastly, the innate curiosity that comes from being a
researcher is helpful in thinking about the types of questions to ask a prospect during a visit.

Sonia Makelele
Senior Prospect
The George

SM: In closing, any words of wisdom that you would like to impart to others thinking of making
that same transition?
KM: Take a chance on yourself! It can be seemingly scary to jump into frontline work, particularly with
more accountability for dollar and proposal metrics. Nonetheless, its been a great opportunity to
experience fundraising from the other side. I always loved uncovering the passion of a donor to better
equip a gift officer, and now I get to experience that same feeling first-hand. Also take it upon yourself to
maintain a good rapport with colleagues outside your division -- you never know where your next
opportunity may lie.
JR: Feel empowered by the knowledge and experience you have in this field. And never feel like your
options are limited just because youve worked in one area of Development. Your skills and fresh outlook
might be exactly what is needed in the next role you take on. When I was in my final round of interviews
for my current position, I learned that my background in research was a skill that was valued by my
current boss and our Dean. This certainly allowed me to stick out as an attractive candidate in the end.

Katie Mire
Corporate &

Interviewing for a new job can be daunting, especially if youre attempting to make a shift to a different
role, but its important to sell yourself and your experience in a way that shows alignment with the new
position. I referenced much of my work in developing donor strategy and pushing along the cultivation
cycle in my interviews for a frontline position. Think about the tasks you do every day and how they affect
the overall cultivation of your prospects. Identify a few success stories and be prepared to discuss. Just
because you werent the one making the ask, doesnt mean you didnt make a significant contribution
along the way.

SM: Do you secretly miss prospect research?

KM: I do miss many aspects of prospect research. My colleagues were the best, with the added bonus of all
sitting together at a communal desk, and I had the chance to begin working on a lot of innovative, out-ofthe-box type work including data visualization projects, dashboards and campaign planning. Continuing on
with APRA DC as the Social Media Chair has been a fun way to remain connected and updated on the
community. Ill remain a member, but will be passing the torch soon as a board member.
JR: Sometimes! One of the beautiful aspects to prospect research is the immediate, tangible deliverables
that show off your hard work. For instance, youve completed a briefing or a profile and can now check
that off your list and pass it on to the fundraiser that requested it. For my role, it takes time and much
cultivation to see the true fruits of your labor. But I know that perseverance and patience will lead to
success in this type of role. Oh, and entering in my contact reports of course!

Javier Rodriguez
Director of
College of Arts
and Sciences,
The American

The Prospector

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The Job Board (Job Board)

Prospect Research Officer

African Wildlife Foundation


July 8, 2016

Development Training Specialist

Johns Hopkins University


July 7, 2106

Change Management/Business Services Analyst

Johns Hopkins University


July 7, 2106

Senior Prospect Researcher

University of Maryland - College Park


June 13, 2016

Senior Associate - Environment, Philanthropic


Pew Charitable Trust


June 3, 2016

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

Mentor Program
Thinking About Career Advancement? A Career Change?
Want to Give Back to the Prospect Development Community?
Join the APRA Metro DC Mentor program today.
In April 2016, the APRA Metro DC Mentor program launched and has gotten off to a great start!
Whether you are a seasoned advancement professional who can help guide and affirm a newer colleague,
or are thinking about a career change and need some advice, the mentor program is for you. Both
mentor, mentee and co-mentor openings are available.
Contact Thomas Turner at for more details about the mentor program.

New Board Members Elected

Newsletter Chair:
Elizabeth Dickson
Coordinator, Donor Relations

Programming Chair:
Catherine Flaatten

Social Media Chair:

Ana Morgenstern

Share Our Strength

Prospect Research Analyst

Manager, Research and
Prospect Management

You can read more about the chapters three newly-elected board members here! The board would like
to thank Katie Mire and Javier Rodriguez for lending us their wisdom, enthusiasm, and ingenuity. Thanks
for your service to the APRA DC family!

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The Prospector

Remembering Daniel Greeley

By Lindsey Nadeau

Associate Director, Presidential and Principal Gifts Research, The George Washington University

In April, APRA Metro DC Board Member Daniel Greeley passed. He was many things
to this chapter and Ive shared previously with the chapter the specific impact he
had on me. Sitting in St. Pauls church during his service, I realized I wasnt alone
in recognizing his remarkableness. Ive witnessed an outpouring of support and
sympathy to the chapter while we struggle to move forward without one of our
most devoted, and I wanted to share some of those sentiments:
He was a passionate volunteer who was a true pleasure to work with.
His contributions to APRA have been many and he will be greatly missed.
A tremendous loss for our community and will certainly leave a void on our
board. His dedication, commitment, and energy will not be forgotten.
He definitely set a can do tone for the chapter.
He truly found a measure of fulfillment and purpose through APRA DC.
It was clear he was the kind of person that went the extra step.
For those who want a clearer sense of Daniels character and unyielding spirit, one
of his co-workers wrote a beautiful tribute to him here.

Remembering Doug Miller

By Anne Dean

Director, Research & Relationship Management, The George Washington University

Doug Miller, a long-time prospect development professional, passed away earlier

this month. Many of us remember the day we met Doug. He came into my life in
May 2013. Within moments of finishing up our interview, I was ready to hire him.
Coming to us with well more than 15 years of experience, Doug was with GW for
two and a half years, before moving to The Wilson Center in 2015.
Prospect researchers come to our work each with our own unique skills, interests
and talents. Doug had many, but among them was that Doug was a storytellera
good, old fashioned, mid-western storyteller. He loved cataloging stories, and he
loved telling stories. If you ever heard Doug's stories, you will agree that it was a
Many of us are honored to have worked with and to have known Doug, and GW
continues to feel his presence and his impact whether we are aware of it or not.
We are standing on his very tall shoulders, reading and using research he created
and enacting strategies that he helped piece together. There are gifts in the
works today that Doug was a part of. What a legacy at this institution, as I'm sure
it is at nearly every institution he worked with over his career. We will all miss
his tall, Nats cap-wearing, cussing, Metro-hating, lovable self.
An obituary from the Washington Post is available here.

The Prospector
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Page 5

Conference Recap

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The APRA Metro DC

Board of Directors
Lindsey Nadeau | President
Devon Villa Gessert |Past President
Catherine Flatten | Programming Chair
Bob Lyon | Secretary
Lauren Turner | Treasurer
Rachel Collins | Communications Chair
Anne Dean| Sponsorship Chair
Elizabeth Dickson| Newsletter Chair
Andy McMahon| Membership Chair
Ana Morgenstern | Social Media Chair
Thomas Turner | Mentor Chair
Edward Wynne | At-Large
Leslie Cronen | Ex-Officio

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