#ResearchPride month is here!

Dear Apra peeps and all of my fellow fundraisers,

March is when the entirety of the Prospect Development profession joins together in celebrating our fabulousness. To me, #ResearchPride month is a reminder to our community to find our #PowerTone (or #PowerPose!) by speaking up and often, to demonstrate a sense of community among fellow professionals, and to highlight the added value we bring to partnerships with our key stakeholders. To me, the most important part of that triad is the latter bit about partnerships.

That might be controversial given it’s #ResearchPride month, but I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous gift officers of varying background, experience, and seniority that have helped me find my own #ResearchPride. My working relationships with these individuals are make or break for my success in a shop. My #ResearchPride is not just in my personal contribution, or that of my team’s, but in the holistic partnership I have with my gift officers. So I wanted to share some of my personal moments of #ResearchPride that specifically highlight when gift officers have made me proud to be a researcher.

To the various road warriors I’ve worked with:
  • Thank you for sharing your successes with me by stopping in just to update me on the positive impact my research had on your visit or ask. This is the Holy Grail for a researcher and literally all I need at times to keep going. 
  • Thank you for thinking of research early and often by bringing us in on conversations from the get-go. We are here to help, and it warms my heart when you embrace that. 
  • Thank you for entering your contact reports completely and in a timely manner without fail. This makes my day-to-day work so much easier. 
  • Thank you for submitting, without my prompting, updated biographical information directly to the biographical records team, instead of saving it in a contact report (oh, the horror!). 
  • Thank you for recognizing that while I may be your only research liaison, you may be the fifth gift officer I have seen that day. That empathy goes a long way. 
  • Thank you for leading with “I just have one question; I don’t need a profile.” That lets me know that you get what my team does. 
  • Thank you for acknowledging that not every request I get is of merit and taking the time to share a laugh about the ridiculousness that is often my reality. 
  • Thank you for your candid feedback and guidance about how a deliverable could have been more helpful. I’m always listening for those cues, and it increases our trust. 
  • Thank you to the fabled unicorns, the researchers-turned-gift-officers. You maintain the ultimate respect for the advancement services shop and you advocate for us to your tribe on a daily basis. You bring me only the most insightful, well-thought-out requests. You’re definitely my favorite gift officers. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. 
  • Thank you to the impactful and visionary executive gift officers I’ve worked with and for. In my experience, you have helped change the institutional culture from inside the gift officer’s psyche, aiding a cultural transformation of the research team from servants to partners. You unfailingly offered your perspective as a gift officer, enhanced our strategic vision, brought focus to our priorities, took on naysayers, and went to bat with us (not just for us!). 
  • Thank you for your recognition of my contributions to Apra, my dedication to being best-in-class, and for partnering with me to create dynamic educational sessions by blending our perspectives. 
For these comrades-in-arms, I will drop everything and let you bend my ear about your last minute request. This is not to say that I live in a land of rainbows and unicorns. There are times where a gift officer inspires… let’s just say, a lack of pride – but the good ones help me take two steps forward for every one step back.

In 2012, I made a very conscious decision to commit to my industry and make Prospect Development my career. My gift officer counterparts were influential in making my prospect research journey one of intentional and purposeful pursuit, and I haven’t stopped to catch my breath since. If that’s not #ResearchPride, I don’t know what is!

Yours truly,
Lindsey Nadeau