Position Paper

The Strategic Role of Research in the Development Process
Approved by the APRA Board of Directors, August 2, 1998

The Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement affirms that the role of research is essential at each stage of the development process: identification, verification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Researchers are the development officers on the front line of information management, uniquely positioned - and qualified - to gather, interpret, analyze, disseminate and direct data critical to securing support for non-profit organizations.

Advancement researchers must work in concert with front-line fundraisers, each applying unique and vital sets of skills, to fulfill the missions of the organizations for which they work. In order to attain success, researchers must develop the skills defined below. They must be grounded in the key concepts, terms and tools of the philanthropic profession. They must be knowledgeable about the unique challenges and accomplishments of their organizations. They must be able to apply technology efficiently in their work. They must understand the range of resources available to them, and apply those resources in an organized and purposeful manner.

Implicit in each of these skills is the understanding that advancement researchers will be given access to the training, tools, and continuing education opportunities necessary to achieve and maintain proficiency. In addition, researchers require access to information through which they may make strategic determinations. Researchers must be involved in key discussions regarding funding needs and determinations (for campaigns and other priorities), in planning sessions and in meetings involving strategic discourse. By participating in such settings, researchers support effective decision-making by providing relevant information and informed analysis.

Through its publications and educational offerings, APRA commits its resources and energies to providing the training its members - and others engaged in advancement research and related work - require to achieve proficiency. APRA supports the training efforts of its chapters and assists its collegial professional associations with programming focused on the research profession.

Research crosses barriers of regions, departments and funding purposes to secure funds for the most pressing institutional needs. Research deals with one of the most valuable commodities of the modern day, managing and directing information toward a stated goal. Given appropriate access and support, researchers provide key information that ensures successful solicitations, fulfilling a vital role in the success of their organizations.

Copyright ©1998 by the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement. No portion of this publication may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written consent of APRA. 
(Posted with permission)

APRA Pennsylvania is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is a state chapter of APRA, an international membership organization that "serves and educates fund-raising professionals interested in advancement research and promotes the profession of advancement research."

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