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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.

  • Fri, December 01, 2017 10:14 AM | Laura Parshall

    In 2009, the NEDRA News interviewed Helen Brown and Elizabeth Roma of the Helen Brown Group about telecommuting, and what it means for the employee and the organization. With winter weather around the corner, telecommuting is probably looking very attractive to many people!

    The Virtual Office - Telecommuting Basics.pdf

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 2:23 PM | Laura Parshall

    The NEDRA Board had its monthly operations call on October 11. Among the subjects discussed were upcoming programming and the 2018 conference. Read on for some big conference news, and more!

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 2:03 PM | Laura Parshall

    Exciting news! The location, date, and keynote speaker for #NEDRACon2018 have been announced! We hope you will join us on April 26 and 27 at the Hotel Viking in Newport, RI for what's sure to be an exciting conference. We're delighted to share the news that industry leader Michael Quevli will be our keynote speaker this year. If you weren't lucky enough to catch his educational session at the 2016 conference, you'll now have another opportunity to catch him at NEDRA. Don't miss it! You can find more information about Michael here

    Conference registration opens in January, but room reservations at the Hotel Viking are open. We strongly recommend you reserve a room as soon as possible, since rooms for the 2017 conference sold out well in advance, and we expect this to happen again in 2018. There is a room block for attendees with a rate of $129/night. This discounted price ends March 4, 2018, but the Hotel Viking anticipates that the entire hotel will sell out prior to this date, so book now! Go here to make your reservation online, or call 401-847-3300 and reference group code 1K65DW.

    The conference NEEDS SPEAKERS! We plan to feature 24 educational sessions in four conference tracks: Prospect Research, Prospect Management, Fundraising Data Science, and Innovations & Trends. This is a great opportunity to share your unique skills, expertise and best practices with our community. Submit your session proposal and a short speaker bio via this conference proposal form.

    As we have before in recent years, we will be featuring a pre-conference Research Basics Bootcamp on Wednesday, April 25. This is a great way for newcomers to the industry to meet some of their fellow NEDRA members and get some grounding in the basics before the conference begins.

    For the first time, we also will be holding a pre-conference fundraising data science summit on April 25! Come join other seasoned data science professionals to dig deep into the world of data. 

    Stay tuned to the NEDRA News Blog, your inbox, and the Annual Conference website for more information!

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 1:19 PM | Laura Parshall

    Thanks to everyone who joined us for the prospect management panel on October 17, and the healthcare Think Tank on October 27! We have more great programming coming up this fall and winter. On November 7, Melissa Bank Stepno will present a Residential Real Estate Review at Northeastern University. On November 17, Amy Begg and Lisa Foster will lead a Research Basics Bootcamp, great for anyone who needs to brush up on their basics, or who's just starting out in prospect research. Looking out to the beginning of next year, Bill Gotfredson and Dave Owens will be presenting on Understanding and Utilizing SEC Filings. If phantom stock is scarier to you than any ghost story, join NEDRA to learn about the information that can be gleaned from SEC filings!

    You can find more information about these programs, and register for them, on our Upcoming Programs page.

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 11:50 AM | Laura Parshall

    With international research growing in importance for many organizations, the privacy laws of the UK and the European Union have been of increasing concern. In this article, Tim Wilson of Harvard Business School discusses what these laws mean for our profession, and presents useful resources for learning more.

    Panicky in the U.K.: The Impact of Data Protection Laws in the European Union 

    and the U.K. on Prospect Research 

    by Tim Wilson

    I recently attended Helen Brown’s engaging and informative NEDRA program on “International Research: United Kingdom.” As a board member, I was delighted to see a great turn-out, with representation from many institutions and fields within prospect research and management, such as healthcare and higher education. Helen’s presentation focused on two aspects of prospect research in the United Kingdom (U.K.) – one being available resources, and the second being the recently enacted European Union (E.U.) privacy laws that have caused anxiety in the U.K.’s philanthropy sector, with some of that nervousness now bubbling up in prospect research colleagues here in the States. 

    While the privacy laws didn’t create “Anarchy in the U.K.” – a tip to the 40-year-old punk anthem – fundraisers are a bit more panicky since this legislation’s approval by the E.U. in spring 2016. Greater awareness about the data protection law and its ramifications for fundraising made its way across the pond and splashed on Yankee shores earlier this year. 

    Due to the complexity of the issue and implications for our industry, links are embedded in this article for additional reading. In her workshop, Helen Brown encouraged attendees to educate themselves on these regulations and prepare for how this will impact the ways in which we work and where we store data. 

    To start, what is this data privacy law? Its full name is The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a piece of European Union legislation going into effect in May 2018. It is being enacted to thwart even the appearance – let alone the outright intent - of a 21st century “British Invasion” of any donor’s personal information by charitable organizations, corporations, or other entities in various industries. Its reach and impact are certainly wide-ranging. The GDPR’s policy predecessor had been in place since 1995, and as we know, data collection, philanthropy, and online resources have undergone a Thames River-esque torrent of transformation over the last two decades.  

    While the GDPR will be enforceable throughout the 28-member European Union, most of the media’s – and the philanthropy world’s – attention has focused on the GDPR’s impact within the U.K., for various reasons. The proportion of many institutions’ international donors who live and/or work in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), coupled with the bevy of English-language resources for researchers, in a world of limited guides for non-U.S. regions and countries), have ensured that U.S. institutions are quite curious about what’s to come, as well as what events coincided with the E.U. enacting this policy. As quick background: Public dismay over U.K. charity scandals the last few years reached an apex after the 2016 death of 92-year-old Olive Cooke, who allegedly received over 3,200 charity solicitations in a year. Sadness and anger over Cooke’s death and other bad philanthropic optics led to a staggering drop in the level of trust that people in England and Wales held in their charities.


    So, what will the General Data Protection Regulation do, exactly? This regulation seeks to securely protect personal data – “names, photos, e-mail addresses, bank details, medical information,” per the E.U.’s General Data Protection FAQ website. Thus, many data points that prospect researchers have access to, and store, are protected by this regulation.


    One major sticky wicket at the dawn of the GDPR era is: What will happen when the U.K. leaves the European Union, the final straw in the 2016 Brexit shockwave? In anticipation of the E.U. losing the U.K. as a member by March 2019, the E.U.’s General Data Protection website has an FAQ section addressing the Union Jack-draped elephant in the room. Once Brexit is complete, the GDPR will not have affect in the United Kingdom. The U.K. government will “implement an equivalent or alternative legal mechanisms” similar to GDPR, according to the FAQ website.

    How concerned should U.S.-based prospect researchers be about Brussels-based legislation? Read this sentence from the E.U. website: “The GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the E.U. but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the E.U. if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, E.U. data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.” Gulp! That’s us!  

    Not jolly good, indeed!


    But we shouldn’t walk around in a perpetual London fog or panic over the data protection news! In her presentation, Helen highlighted two United Kingdom-based philanthropy organizations for their excellent coverage of the data protection issue: the Factary and the Institute of Fundraising (IOF).


    One of the Factary’s staff members, research director Nicola Williams, recently posted two highly informative articles (one in August, another a recap of a survey just two weeks ago) that offer cheerier assessments on our industry’s future. Looking ahead, Nicola summarized the feelings of many in Factary’s poll that GDPR “will help to promote prospect research within organisations and institutions” while making our industry “more efficient and effective” as a result of required modifications to data collection, reporting, and usage.


    IOF is another stellar reference for understanding the data protection policy. Searching for “GDPR” yielded over 100 results, including the highly engaging “Get Ready for GDPR” (with graphics, PDFs, timelines, and other goodies), the A-to-Zed “GDPR At a Glance,” and the thorough “GDPR: The Essentials for Fundraising Organisations.”


    As I perused these resources, I was gobsmacked by the wealth of information, all relatively easy-peasy to follow and comprehend, that describes what GDPR will do and the “Who, When, How, and Why” of its impact. I am grateful both to have these resources at my fingertips and for colleagues like Helen and the research colleagues at the Factary and the Institute of Fundraising who have devoted considerable time to understanding this privacy regulation, cleared away the Brussels-ease policy lingo, and contextualized what GDPR means for the prospect research profession.

    The General Data Protection Regulation represents a sea-change in the prospect research and wider non-profit management worlds. One looming question is, “How will the EU be able to, or seek to, enforce the General Data Protection Regulation in the U.S.?” That weighty concern likely will become clearer in time. Until then, we’re left to ponder implications for our day-to-day work, such as “How will researching and collecting info on non-donors change, since non-donors may not already be in our database?” In addition, institutions may need to separate non-sensitive data from sensitive information in their databases, in order to be in compliance with this regulation.


    By British calculations, we have approximately 11 fortnights (or, under six months) to educate ourselves with the General Data Protection Regulation and determine within our institutions what changes we will need to make to be in compliance. Action items can include looping in database management and advancement services colleagues to familiarize them with this impending news, as well as assessing which data points would be included in this data protection coverage. Quick-win steps include bookmarking the Factary and the Institute of Fundraising’s sites and checking them regularly for further GDPR-themed insights over the coming months.


    The best of British to you…err, I mean, “Good luck!”

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 10:47 AM | Laura Parshall

    In May 2017, NEDRA conducted a survey of its community. One main goal was to gain insight for NEDRA regarding compensation, staffing, etc. of its constituents, in order to support benchmarking and negotiations for staffing, budget, compensation and other talent management-related topics. 

    Based on the survey data and with this goal in mind, the NEDRA Board created a Tableau visual presentation that enables salary responses to be segmented by job title (e.g., executive, director/manager, analyst, data scientist, etc.), job level (e.g., senior, assistant, associate), location (within MA vs. outside MA), and type of organization (non-profit vs. for-profit). 

    The frequency distribution consists of respondents categorized in salary bins, each at $10K increments, with a range from $20K to $190K (excluding nonresponse and “$0” salary response).  The top of each salary bin displays the count, the average salary, as well as the median. On the right, different options for region, org type, and job title allow for filtering and segmentation of salaries.

    In order to interact with this Tableau visual, you will need Tableau Reader to read this file if you don’t already have Tableau or Tableau Reader installed on your computer. The link to download and install Tableau Reader is here.

    Some problematic experiences in terms of getting Tableau Reader downloaded and installed may occur due to either firewalls on work computers and/or operating system compatibility. You may want to use your personal/home computer or else download a 32-bit version of Tableau Reader if your operating system is on the older side. Please discuss with IT personnel at your organization if you’d like to view on your workstation.

    Once you download Tableau Reader you should be able to open and interact with this Tableau visual.

    Visit the member section to check out the visual!

  • Tue, October 31, 2017 10:35 AM | Laura Parshall

    Back in the mid-1990s, prospect development was working on defining itself as a profession and finding its place as a vital, integral part of advancement. In many ways, we're continuing this process today. In this article, Kristin Kristopik describes how UCONN addressed this identity issue in organizing their office structure.

    A Holistic, Proactive Approach.pdf

  • Fri, September 29, 2017 4:34 PM | Laura Parshall

    The NEDRA Board held its in-person meeting on September 13. Among the subjects discussed were the upcoming conference, board nominations, and programming. Read on for more information!

  • Fri, September 29, 2017 4:21 PM | Laura Parshall

    Do you want to help build the future of NEDRA? Or do you know someone who'd be a great person for that job?

    Next summer, six members of the NEDRA board will be rotating off the board at the end of their term. While we will still have a number of skilled, enthusiastic board members remaining, they will need some new people to come in and help them with the work of keeping NEDRA great and ensuring we have a lot to offer our members. If you're looking to level up on volunteering with NEDRA, or if you know someone who'd be an asset to the board, please fill out the nomination form on the Call for Board Nominations page today.

    Just for perspective, when I was asked to join the board in 2012, I was more than a little surprised that someone thought I could take on such a big responsibility. I didn't know if I was up to the task, but I DID know that I wanted to give back to NEDRA and do my part to help others in the prospect development field. I said yes--and have never regretted it. Doing challenging work for a great cause with a great team is a rare pleasure, and joining the NEDRA board is a wonderful opportunity to experience it.

  • Fri, September 29, 2017 4:10 PM | Laura Parshall

    Thanks to everyone who attended Helen Brown's session on UK research and the VINO in Connecticut this month! We have even more great NEDRA programming in store for you this fall. Coming up on October 17, we have a prospect management panel in Shrewsbury, MA. Come hear the stories of our three panelists on creating prospect management systems at their institutions! Then, on October 27, a Think Tank on healthcare will provide an opportunity for people working in that industry to share their problems, and their ideas. If you're new in the field of prospect development or know someone who is, the next Research Basics Bootcamp will be held on November 17 in Portsmouth, NH, with Amy Begg and Lisa Foster of the NEDRA board presenting. See the Upcoming Programs page for more information or to register for any of these programs. Also, keep an eye on the NEDRA website and on your e-mail for a program on real estate, to be held in November (date TBA)!


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