2019 Mariann Bishop Professional Development Grant Recipient - Sarah Durney, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Thank you, APRA PA, for the Mariann Bishop Memorial Grant. This award afforded me the opportunity to attend PD2020, APRA’s annual international conference. Two of my responsibilities as assistant director of prospect analytics, is to proactively maintain a qualified suspect pool to be assigned for discovery and to work with gift officers to manage their portfolios and donor strategy. I chose to apply the grant to PD2020 to learn more about optimizing prospect portfolios, forming prospect management strategies, and collaborating more with gift officers.

Two of my favorite sessions were The Office Meets Prospect Management: How PAM and DWIGHT Are Changing Relationship Management and Measuring Yourself: Metrics for Prospect Research and Management. A key takeaway for me from The Office Meets Prospect Management presentation was thinking about how to review original solicitations forecasted at the beginning of the year and regularly reviewing the “health” of those planned asks throughout rest the year. The University of Cincinnati Foundation’s DWIGHT system examined if ask dates were delayed, overdue, or changed more than five times, and worked in concert with its PAM system. PAM tracks if the gift officer has annual meetings with a donor, if there is current strategy for the donor, if there is at least one strategic move with a donor quarterly, and if a proposal ask date is current. I intend to test both concepts using a dashboard. If successful, this would provide an extra layer of analysis to be applied in portfolio review, as well as shared with senior leadership, who are looking at the overall health of our donor pool and solicitation outcomes.

In Measuring Yourself: Metrics for Prospect Research and Management, Shannon Koehn, the presenter from Wichita State University Foundation, explained how she and her team quantify their fundraising efforts regarding prospect research. Two metrics Shannon looked at were target gift range asks and major giving levels for prospect and donors in portfolio to help assess the strength of individual portfolios. This comparison resonated with my earlier project calculating portfolio valuations based on giving capacity ranges, which I presented at the 2019 Apra PA conference. Based on what I learned from the presentation, I plan to start looking at a recently full qualified portfolio to see if annual solicitations align with individual giving capacities. The analysis could potentially be used to determine if gift officers should be increasing or decreasing solicitation amounts. Additionally, the Fundraising Strategy & Analytics team will be meeting to discuss what additional metrics we should examine more closely to calculate return on investment.

I am grateful for receiving the 2019 Mariann Bishop Memorial Grant; I look forward to attending more APRA presentations and conferences in the future!

Are you an Apra PA member interested in applying for the Mariann Bishop Memorial Professional Development Grant? Visit the application page to apply.

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