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The NEDRA News blog features topical industry-specific articles submitted by our membership; book, publication, film, and resource reviews; op-ed pieces about emerging fundraising topics and issues; and information and news specifically related to NEDRA as an organization.  We hope these selections will be of interest to you - and we encourage you to share your thoughts and comments here!

NEDRA News was previously a quarterly journal of prospect research published by the New England Development Research Association from the organization's inception in 1987 until the end of 2011. Since 2012, we have continued to offer to you, our members, the same NEDRA News content you have come to rely on - but in a blog format tailored to meet the changing needs of our members, and featuring new content on a monthly (rather than quarterly) basis.

  • Tue, February 28, 2017 12:56 PM | Laura Parshall

    Sara White, managing director of advancement services at Bennington College, received a scholarship from NEDRA to attend Apra's Advancing Leaders Symposium this past fall. In this article, she shares the highlights of her experience there, and what takeaways she brought back to her office.

    Attending Apra's Advancing Leaders Symposium

    by Sara White

    I’ve had some time to reflect on my experience at Apra's Advancing Leaders Symposium held in Alexandria, VA this past November and I’d love to share my findings with you all. First, I’d like to thank both NEDRA, for offering the scholarship, and Apra for partnering with NEDRA, for making this excellent opportunity available to their members. I was able to immerse myself in the discussions, network with fellow leaders, and bring back lots of ideas that I could begin implementing right away.

    Right out of the gate I knew I was learning how to be a better leader -- beginning with entrepreneur and philanthropist Melanie Sabelhaus’s session about your approach to leadership. “Being a leader is not something you are, but something you do.” It’s about integrity and saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It’s about being a mentor, being passionate about your work and your team and achieving the collective goal together. I was fortunate enough to come to Bennington College eight years ago and find a mentor. It has shaped the way I work with my staff. I am always trying to help guide them to get to the next level, to accomplish their objectives. But, in the end, it’s not just about being a mentor to others but finding your own mentor. Seek out someone you respect and ask if they will help mentor you because you, as a leader, need to continue to grow as well. Wow, what a way to kick off a symposium!

    Shelby Radcliffe, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Willamette University, continued to talk about relationship building and how you as a leader are sometimes the bridge between your team and other stakeholders. A key takeaway for me was thinking outside the box a bit and adapting the major gift fundraising cycle to help manage the relationships with my team -- who can we steward for their partnership, and how? As the Managing Director of Advancement Services, I certainly have a lot of interaction with the College’s business and IT offices. I started to think about how my team might be perceived by others and how we contribute to the whole. I began having conversations with my peers, taking the time to find out what their goals and obstacles were and what commonalities we share. I must say it has gone a long way.

    A hot topic in recruitment and talent management today is the Millennial generation. How do we address them? They don’t want to be called philanthropists, but change-makers. They aren’t “joiners” like baby boomers, they like to spread out, sometimes to several different organizations. How do we cultivate them? How do we incorporate them into frontline portfolios? As I was listening to the panel (consisting of Jennifer MacCormack, immediate Past President, Apra; Jason Lee, Interim President & CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP); Steven Churchill, President & CEO, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP); and Sue Cunningham, President, CASE International) I thought about the ways in which we are beginning to engage with this cohort. At Bennington, we have recently established an Alumni Cooperative, a revitalized alumni structure that will deepen the ways that alumni be substantially involved in the life of the College. The intent is to activate and engage a community united by Bennington’s educational ethos of individuality, creative intelligence, and strong ethical sensibility in order to enrich and enhance one another and the College. It involves a volunteer structure with fluid lines allowing community members the ability to fit into more than one category at once and not pigeon-holing members to fit one silo. Millennials have responded well and it has significantly helped to build our prospect pipeline and lead our fundraising program into the future.

    Lastly, Vice President of Data Analytics at Blackbaud Steve MacLaughlin’s session about the Secrets of Data Driven Nonprofits was eye opening. Everyone knows about big data, right? How can I incorporate this in my small shop with limited resources? After all, Bennington is headed into a campaign soon and I’ve got to fill that major gift pipeline. Steve talked about data integrity and health, which I feel my team has a handle on as most of our scores for unmailable records or missing emails are above average. But what I didn’t expect was learning how to effectively use new technology to tell our next move or to find out which prospect to assign as a priority. Upon returning, I got together with my team and explored new ways to tell stories with our data. I reached out to a couple of attendees to gain insight on some new emerging platforms, and after collaborating, my staff and I were able to create robust portfolios for development and build reporting dashboards for management and staff. 

    I loved that the symposium was centered around emerging leaders and was kept to a small number of attendees, which led to more fruitful one-on-one discussions about real struggles that folks are experiencing. It was an ideal platform, and I left with takeaways that I could begin implementing immediately. It was intensive, but allowed for more in-depth conversations with colleagues and industry leaders in an intimate environment.

    Again, I want to thank NEDRA for offering me this opportunity, which might not have been possible without the scholarship, and Apra for providing a great program. I highly recommend maintaining this format in the future to continue bringing leaders and fundraising programs to the next level.

  • Tue, February 28, 2017 12:50 PM | Laura Parshall

    Are you a photography enthusiast who's planning on attending the annual conference in April? Would you be willing to lend your skills to help NEDRA document this milestone event? We would love to be able to have pictures of the 30th anniversary conference for posterity and to share with those member who aren't able to join us. If you would like to participate in this role, please contact Conference Committee co-chairs Lisa Foster and Susan Grivno

  • Tue, February 28, 2017 12:41 PM | Laura Parshall

    As we gear up for NEDRA's 30th anniversary celebrations at this year's conference, I thought it would be interesting to look back at our history as seen through the NEDRA News. For February, March, and April, the NEDRA News Blog will be featuring Looking Back articles from the 20th anniversary in 2007, the 10th anniversary in 1997, and the very beginnings of NEDRA in 1987. This month, here's a great perspective on the past, present (in 2007), and future of research from former NEDRA board member Kate Fultz Hollis, originally published in the Spring 2007 NEDRA News.

    Rememberance of Things Past.pdf

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 1:42 PM | Laura Parshall

    The NEDRA Board had its monthly operations call on January 13. Among the subjects discussed were board openings, the 2017 conference, and upcoming programs.

    We're sad to announce that Stacey Vial MacDonnell, former co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee, has left the NEDRA Board. Additionally, Tim Enman, co-chair of the Programming Committee, will be leaving at the end of this board term. We will miss both of our colleagues, and wish them the very best in their future endeavors!

    Stacey and Tim's departures mean that we are now seeking board nominations. If you are interested in joining the board, or know someone who would make an excellent board member, fill out a nomination form today. NEDRA board members serve a two-year term beginning in July. The board meets several times per year in person and monthly by phone; in addition, board members attend selected NEDRA programs and the annual conference. The board consists of at least 12 members who rotate responsibilities to:

    • Perform executive leadership and governance duties
    • Organize programs, boot camps, and the annual conference
    • Produce, edit, and distribute NEDRA News
    • Maintain the NEDRA website
    • Design and author marketing materials
    • Secure sponsors for conference and other programming opportunities
    • Grow and diversify membership
    • Collaborate with management association staff
    • Develop other member services, and manage volunteer committees
    • Investigate and implement social media and other cutting edge tools to engage members throughout all of New England and provide meaningful content through online or other virtual means
    Be passionate advocates for the profession

    Board nominee criteria includes:

    • Experience in prospect research, management, analytics, or related industries
    • Active NEDRA membership
    • Prior volunteer involvement with NEDRA (e.g. contributor to NEDRA News, conference presenter, program or RING host, etc.)
    • Interested in helping others advance in the profession as demonstrated by leadership within the workplace and/or among professionals in the field
    • Other relevant volunteer experience
    • Would contribute to the diversity of perspectives (e.g. geographic/institution type/institution size) on the board

    Nominations are due Monday, February 13.

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 1:36 PM | Laura Parshall

    We're excited to announce that registration is now open for NEDRACon2017! 

    Sign up now to be part of this not-to-be-missed milestone event, NEDRA's 30th Anniversary! We hope to see you in Portsmouth on April 27th and 28th for education, networking, and fun, and a celebration of 30 years of NEDRA. Don't wait to get your room: last year hotel rooms sold out fast, and we're expecting the same this year.

    This year's conference will feature a keynote speech by Julissa Arce, courtesy of Greater Talent Network. (Our previously-announced keynote speaker, Luma Mufleh, is no longer able to attend the conference.) Julissa is an advocate for immigrant rights and education, and co-founder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund. Julissa will be signing copies of her book, My (Underground) American Dream. When you register, please indicate if you would like to purchase a copy at the conference.

    Julissa's keynote will kick off our biggest conference yet. This year, we will have not three, but FOUR educational sessions in each time slot, with both local speakers and some from as far away as California and Illinois. For more information about the sessions that will be offered, see the Schedule at a Glance on the NEDRA website.

    Additionally, you asked, and NEDRA listened: since our survey data said that lunchtime round table discussions were too noisy for productive conversation, we've changed things up this year. The "last hurrah" of this year's conference will come in the form of three Think Tanks on the subjects of Prospect Management, Leveraging your Conference Experience, and Fundraising Data Science. Indicate your preference when you register to take advantage of this opportunity to network with your peers before the end of the conference!

    Sign up today on the Annual Conference page.

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 1:28 PM | Laura Parshall

    If you've seen the name "CAMI" associated with NEDRA at all, you may well have wondered what it referred to. Wonder no more! Lisa Foster, treasurer of NEDRA, would like to introduce you to CAMI in this article.

    Just What Exactly is CAMI? Notes from the NEDRA Treasurer

    by Lisa Foster

    Back before I joined the NEDRA Board, when I attended the Annual Meeting at the conference, I always wondered what exactly CAMI was. I noticed in the Treasurer’s Report that NEDRA seemed to pay CAMI an awful lot of money, and wondered why and what for. 

    CAMI stands for The Center For Association Management, Inc. CAMI was founded in 1995 by Linda King, who holds a degree in Psychology from Framingham State College. Prior to founding CAMI, Linda worked for Association Resources in Newton, MA. CAMI has 9 employees. Linda assigns teams of employees to work for CAMI’s various clients. CAMI’s clients range from other fundraising organizations, such as the Planned Giving Group of New England and Association of Fundraising Professionals, Massachusetts Chapter to other professional advocacy groups, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Boston Section and the Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

    NEDRA’s CAMI team is comprised of Carrie Winchman and Melanie McHugh. Carrie holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Suffolk. She joined CAMI in June of 2011. Prior to CAMI, Carrie worked in the asset management field in Boston. She took time off from that career to raise her two children and became active in various education focused non-profits in her hometown of Weston. When she was ready to return to the work force, she worked with a recruiter who introduced her to Linda King. Linda realized that Carrie’s paid work and volunteer efforts combined made her a great fit for CAMI. Carrie loves the variety her job brings and the independence that results from the strong organizational systems CAMI has. Although teams of people are assigned to specific clients, the whole company meets weekly to discuss the important things happening with each client. This means that if someone is out sick or one client’s needs are especially high in a particular week, all the other people in the company understand exactly what is going on and can jump in and help. The work requires a lot of energy and stamina, which luckily, Carrie has!  Carrie lives in Weston with her husband (who does top-secret work for Raytheon!), daughter Courtney (13) and son Spencer (10). Most of her free time is spent watching her children compete in swimming, basketball, soccer and math leagues. Carrie and her daughter are also both learning to sew. Carrie firmly believes in the importance of eating dinner together as a family each night and appreciates the flexibility her job has in allowing this to happen.

    Melanie McHugh joined CAMI in July 2015. She holds a BS in Business Management, with a concentration in hospitality, from Salem State. She was born and raised in Stoneham. Melanie’s family is in the real estate leasing business and she also works in that field on the side. Melanie also loves the organized environment CAMI provides and enjoys the team atmosphere of the office. She absolutely loves her job in general and really enjoys the opportunity to meet her clients in person when she goes to events. When not in the office, Melanie can most likely be found at a spinning class. She sometimes does more than one class in a day. Clearly, she has the energy level this work takes!  She also enjoys drawing, listening to music and going to car shows. She has two basset hounds, Samson and Delilah. 

    So what do Melanie and Carrie do for NEDRA?  First of all, although the NEDRA board is very much a hard-working, hands on board, we all also have full time jobs. Melanie and Carrie are able to provide the office support needed to ensure that someone is available to answer phone calls and emails from members during the day when many of us might be tied up in meetings. Similarly, they also answer many questions from board members. The board holds in person meetings at the CAMI offices and CAMI provides storage for our paper files as well as maintaining our stock of stationary. Carrie and Melanie also help with organizing and reconciling the NEDRA financials and tax filings, reporting to APRA, organizing bank signer changes when board roles turnover, ordering food for events, making nametags and assisting with registration for events. Carrie is a real expert at contract negotiation and is invaluable in helping us with the contracts for our conferences and board retreats. Carrie and Melanie are a huge help in planning and executing the annual conference. They send out the speaker agreements, put together the packet you receive as an attendee, make all of the nametags, and staff the registration desk. If you are planning to come to the conference this year (which I hope you are!), you will see their smiling faces as soon as you arrive. One of them always participates in our board calls and meetings so that they are always up to date on everything that is going on. We have an excellent website and technology team on the board. However, Carrie and Melanie also provide additional support in those areas as well, when needed.

    Each year, we look at the number of hours of CAMI time we used the year before. We think about the year ahead and what we have planned and estimate how many hours we think we will need for the coming year. Based upon that, we draw up our contract for the year. Each month, CAMI reports their number of hours and, as Treasurer, I report this out to the board. We watch the number of hours we have used as compared to how many we have left all year long. At the end of the year, if we are running under, we might have CAMI do a special project, and if we are running over, we might hold something until the next year. 

    I can’t imagine how we could possibly do all that we do without CAMI’s help!

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 1:16 PM | Laura Parshall

    Thanks to all who attended the 30th Anniversary celebrations in Rhode Island and Connecticut! We hope they provided a fun opportunity to unwind and network with your NEDRA colleagues. Thanks also to those who attended the Resource Refresh Think Tank on January 27.

    Coming up this month, we have our next 30th Anniversary celebration--this time, for the Western Massachusetts region. Join your NEDRA colleagues for lunch at Bertucci's in Amherst, MA on February 3, and celebrate 30 years of NEDRA. Next, there will be a Think Tank on international research on February 22 at the Boston Children's Hospital Trust. Come discuss the unique challenges of international research, and the resources that help you surmount them.

    For more information, or to register for these programs, see the Upcoming Programs page.

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 1:12 PM | Laura Parshall

    The world of health care poses some unique and interesting challenges to research. In this article from 1995, Linda Gassiraro and Karen Culbert discuss such issues as constituency, confidentiality, and the limitations of available resources.

    Research Issues in Health Care.pdf

  • Fri, December 30, 2016 12:31 PM | Laura Parshall

    The NEDRA Board had its in-person meeting on December 7th in Waltham. Among the subjects discussed were upcoming programs, marking our association's 30th anniversary, and more. As we head into a new year, we'd like to wish all of our members, sponsors, and friends a healthy, happy, safe, and exciting 2017! Read on for this year's last edition of the NEDRA News Blog.

  • Fri, December 30, 2016 12:19 PM | Laura Parshall

    Thanks to everyone who attended the December 12 Research Basics Bootcamp at Northeastern University! Unfortunately, the other event scheduled for December--a public speaking workshop--had to be canceled. Don't worry, though: there's more programming just around the corner.

    Next month, we kick off a year of celebration! In honor of NEDRA's 30th anniversary, we will be holding events all over New England for NEDRA members to get together and celebrate 30 years of learning together, working, and raising the profile of our industry, as an organization. The first scheduled celebration will be on January 24 in Providence, RI at Ogie's Trailer Park. The next will be on January 27 in Mystic, CT, at the Engine Room. Celebrations in western Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and the Boston area will follow later in the season. Join us for as many of these evenings of fun and networking as you like, because we know that NEDRA members like a good party as much as anyone!

    On January 27, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will be hosting a Resource Refresh Think Tank. Are your organization's resources becoming dated and in need of updating? Have you recently found some new treasure troves of information that you'd like to share with your colleagues? Come participate in this Think Tank, and build up a great reading list for the new year!

     For more information and to register for any of these programs, visit our Upcoming Programs page.


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