Log in


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, August 24, 2012 2:42 PM | Laura Parshall

    • August 1992: 275 members
    • August 1992: David Eberly announces resignation as President of NEDRA as soon as successor is chosen.
    • August 1994: NEDRA co-hosts APRA International Conference in Boston.
    • August 2007: NEDRA President-Elect Rick Snyder dons a lobster suit and mans NEDRA’s The Expert is in Booth at the APRA International Conference in Chicago.

  • Fri, August 24, 2012 2:38 PM | Laura Parshall
    Even now, 13 years after this article came out, the truly paperless office is still a pipe dream for most of us. The organizing tips and techniques in Jane Kokernak's article are still relevant and helpful to those of us whose offices or cubicles are a little (or a lot) cluttered.
  • Thu, July 26, 2012 2:51 PM | Laura Parshall

    NEDRA's Board of Directors recently had their July operations conference call, during which they discussed some exciting upcoming programs, the 2013 conference, and volunteer opportunities, among other subjects. See the articles below if you want to know more!

  • Thu, July 26, 2012 2:43 PM | Laura Parshall

    So, you're a member of NEDRA, you've just renewed your membership (or you've newly become a member), you're here on the NEDRA website, and you're reading this blog. That's a great start. But what's that you say? You'd like to do more with NEDRA? Fantastic! There are many opportunities to become more deeply involved with NEDRA, for members with all levels of experience in prospect research. Volunteering with a NEDRA board committee is a great way to make connections with other researchers, to learn more about the field, and to help us offer as much as possible to our members. We recently asked the heads of the various NEDRA board committees about how members can lend a hand. Here's what some of them had to say....

    Conference committee, chaired by Melissa Bank Stepno and Suzy Campos:

    1. What are the responsibilities of your committee? To organize logistics and details related to the annual NEDRA Conference.


    2. What volunteer roles exist on your committee? There are a number of ways to help with the conference. A small standing committee works throughout the year to recruit speakers, review session proposals, and manage logistics and communications. During the Conference, opportunities include session hosts and roundtable hosts.


    3. What kind of role would you suggest for someone relatively new to prospect research? Being a session host (a.k.a.: room monitor) is an easy way for someone to participate. These volunteers get to meet their session speakers and other hosts (a great way to start networking!). A session host is assigned to each conference session. Problems rarely arise during a session but if they do, session hosts are not expected to solve the issue, just to notify someone who can. We make sure they have all the information they need should an issue come up. Another volunteer possibility is to host a lunchtime roundtable on a topic. Roundtable hosts do not need to be a leading expert on the topic, only to serve as a discussion facilitator.


    4. Are there other ways besides acting as a volunteer that a NEDRA member could assist your committee? The Conference wouldn’t be possible without its speakers! Watch your email for more information on the 2013 Request for Proposals (RFP) process later this summer - we encourage anyone who is interested to submit a proposal!

    Programming committee, chaired by James Cheng and Amy Begg:

    1. What are the responsibilities of your committee? I dare say that there are NO responsibilities for NEDRA’s Programming committee! Fortunately, opportunities to serve within the Programming committee are plentiful! Traditionally, NEDRA Programming consists of several core active learning experiences. The Research Boot-camp allows new researchers to get a firm grasp of the fundamentals of advancement/development research. At the other end of the expertise spectrum, the Research Directors Forum gathers managers who lead at various levels with their research departments to share solutions to obstacles and best practices with other peer managers. Third, content-specific events provide research expertise on topics ranging from holistic wealth assessment of prospects to international prospect research. Finally, networking opportunities, known as RINGs (Regional Interest Networking Groups), give prospect researchers a venue to meet other local researchers with similar interests that can range from “a simple get-acquainted session over a brown bag lunch” to “a facilitated discussion on a chosen topic.”


    The main opportunities for NEDRA Programming committee members involve finding passionate volunteer speakers to share insight and/or ignite discussion with research peers, as well as securing low- to no-cost space to host programming events. Programming committee members can also help create new learning experiences and networking opportunities. Finally, Programming committee members can enthuse and incite both NEDRA members and non-members alike to attend and participate in NEDRA programming!


    2. What volunteer roles exist on your committee? As mentioned earlier, committee members can work behind the scenes finding volunteer speakers and securing programming space. However, this doesn’t exclude these fine folks from being volunteer speakers or volunteer hosts themselves!


    3. What kind of role would you suggest for someone relatively new to prospect research? Attendance and participation in NEDRA programming would be great for someone relatively new to prospect research, both as a learning experience and as a networking opportunity.


    4. Are there other ways besides acting as a volunteer that a NEDRA member could assist your committee? Other, more creative volunteer roles definite exist for the Programming committee! Event attendees/participants can offer to provide refreshments in the form baked goods and/or drinks to help keep costs to a minimum. Individuals with a more interpersonal flair can set up informal meet-ups at local food & drink establishments as a more relaxed networking venue; some of us are very keen on setting these aforementioned meet-ups at karaoke establishments! Hopefully, the case has been made that NEDRA Programming is all about opportunities rather than responsibilities!

    NEDRA News committee, chaired by Laura Beaudet and Tara McMullen

    1. What are the responsibilities of your committee? We're responsible for the blog you're reading now! We write content for the NEDRA News Blog, edit it, and post it here for members to read. We keep members informed about what NEDRA is doing, and provide them with articles that are interesting and helpful to members of our profession.


    We also run the NEDRA Industry News Blog, which features news articles and other items of interest to the research community. Our editorial committee selects and submits these articles to share with all our members.


    2. What volunteer roles exist on your committee? We're always looking for people who are willing to write articles for the NEDRA News Blog! If you have an idea for an article, or are willing to write one but need help coming up with a subject, please get in touch! You can discuss issues facing researchers in our careers, give tips on particular kinds of research, review a book that you've found helpful in your work, review an internet resource, or talk about anything else relevant to the field. This is probably our greatest and most constant need. We also need volunteers to proofread articles that others have written. You can also volunteer for the editorial committee, and submit articles and other interesting Internet items that you find in the course of your work.


    3. What kind of role would you suggest for someone relatively new to prospect research? Proofreading articles is a great start. It gives you an opportunity to read them in advance, and communicating with the authors can be an easy way to start networking.


    4. Are there other ways besides acting as a volunteer that a NEDRA member could assist your committee? If you have an idea for an article you'd really like to see, but don't have time yourself to write it, let us know! We can always use some suggestions for those who do have time to write, but are having trouble deciding on a subject. Let us know what kind of information you'd like to see!

    Marketing Committee, chaired by Ian Wells

    1. What are the responsibilities of your committee? The Marketing Committee serves as the promotional arm of NEDRA, and develops strategies for communicating with the appropriate audience(s) in a timely manner. The Marketing Committee is also responsible for NEDRA’s social media presence.

    2. What volunteer roles exist on your committee? Prior to an event or other deadline, volunteers can best support NEDRA by encouraging prospective attendees to promptly submit their registration forms. After an event, volunteers provide a key service by gathering feedback and gauging participant interest to help prepare for future events. Reviewing and editing marketing materials prior to distribution is also of vital importance.

    3. What kind of role would you suggest for someone relatively new to prospect research? Someone with strong creative talents and an attention to detail would be helpful in preparing marketing materials for distribution. As we may be filming some speakers in the future for promotional reasons, experience with recording or editing video may also prove to be helpful.

    4. Are there other ways besides acting as a volunteer that a NEDRA member could assist your committee? We welcome suggestions for how to reach the widest relevant audience possible. If you have a recommendation you’d like to share with the NEDRA Marketing Committee, please email iwells@partners.org.

    Membership Committee, chaired by Ian Wells
     1. What are the responsibilities of your committee? The Membership Committee oversees the registration of NEDRA members, works to recruit new researchers to join the organization, and ensures that NEDRA continues to provide its members with the best professional training opportunities and services possible.

    2. What volunteer roles exist on your committee? Volunteers can support the Membership Committee by contacting prospective members and inviting them to join our association. They can also provide a great service by brainstorming new ideas about how to make NEDRA more enticing to researchers who are not currently members.

    3. What kind of role would you suggest for someone relatively new to prospect research? People new to the field can certainly help by reaching out to other researchers and encouraging them to become active participants in NEDRA. New researchers can also often “think outside the box,” and suggest innovative ways to broaden NEDRA’s scope.

    4. Are there other ways besides acting as a volunteer that a NEDRA member could assist your committee? Recommending NEDRA to other new professionals in the industry will always be helpful, and if a researcher in the area does not appear to know much about the organization, directing him or her to the website may help them become better acquainted with everything NEDRA has to offer.

    And, introducing...the Volunteer Opportunity of the Month!

    Maybe you'd like to volunteer to help NEDRA in some way, but you don't know if you can commit to becoming a committee member or doing other time-intensive work. There are still plenty of quick, simple ways to help! Starting this month, this blog will be posting a Volunteer Opportunity of the Month. This could be anything from a request for space to host a program, to a need for a blog article, to calling a few lapsed members. In addition, we'll be posting our thanks to those who responded with help the previous month. These can be great opportunities for those who are new to involvement with NEDRA, so be sure to read on for the first of many Volunteer Opportunities of the Month!
  • Thu, July 26, 2012 2:35 PM | Laura Parshall
    This month, Vicki Law, Senior Research Analyst at MIT, provides a guide to a handy way to organize and share Internet resources within your research office: social bookmarking sites. 

    Using Social Bookmarking Sites to Share Resources

    Are you looking for an easy and free way to share links to online resources with other researchers in your organization? Tired of searching through your emails to find that reference to a new web site that your co-worker sent? Then you may want to consider using a social bookmarking site or online bookmark management service to share web links. Social bookmarks allow you to organize, store, manage, and search bookmarks or links to web resources, and then share those links. A prominent feature of social bookmarks is the ability to easily tag links with relevant topics and shared vocabularies. The practice of using tags on social websites allows the user to easily categorize online content without a controlled vocabulary. (Social tagging is also referred to as a "folksonomy.")

    Another benefit of using a social bookmark service is that your bookmark list is not hardware dependent. I have been using Delicious (http://www.delicious.com) for years to keep track of my bookmarks so that I can have access to the same bookmarks at home and in the office.

    I am going to talk primarily about Delicious, but there are many other social bookmarking sites available, both free and fee-based. Wikipedia has an extensive list of the sites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_bookmarking_websites). You can also do a web search on bookmark managers or social bookmarking to find other sites.

    Delicious (formerly called del.icio.us), was introduced in 2003. It was an innovative service at the time and pioneered the use of tagging. Yahoo! acquired the service in 2005, and when they announced in 2010 that the company was closing Delicious, a lot of users panicked (myself included!) and looked for alternative services. Fortunately the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, purchased Delicious.com in 2011, and it became part of their new Internet company AVOS Systems Inc.

    In the Office of Development Services at MIT, we have two intranet pages available through our internal resource development site that provide web links to the established research services and documents that we use on a daily basis, such as LexisNexis, WealthEngine, and our guide to international research resources. This works well for most of our research needs, but we were looking for a way to save links to interesting sites that we wanted to keep track of but did not need on a daily basis. Since I had been using Delicious for some time, we decided to use that service to keep track of these alternate bookmarks. Delicious allows you to create multiple tags to categorize your content and to also include comments about the linked site. Although the Delicious site does not allow full text searching of your entries, you can do a search in your Delicious profile by tag name(s).

    We created a single password that all of our researchers can use to access our bookmarks. You can decide to keep your links private (only available to those who have the password) or you can designate your links as public so that anyone may access them.

    To add links to your Delicious profile, you can install the Delicious "bookmarklet" utility that is available on the Delicious site. The bookmarklet will add a button to your browser tool bar that allows you to save bookmarks to Delicious from anywhere on the web, even if you are not on your Delicious page. Alternatively, you can use the green "+Link" button located at the top right corner of any page on Delicious to open a link-saving box where you can type or paste in the URL that you want to save.

    If you have existing bookmarks that you want to save, you can import those into your Delicious profile. Depending on the browser that you use, there are also add-ons that work with Delicious, like the delicious.com sidebar that works with Firefox and allows you to open a sidebar that lets you delete, edit, and search your bookmarks.

    Another service that you may want to take a look at is Diigo.com (pronounced Dee'go), which characterizes itself as both a collaborative research tool and a knowledge-sharing community/social content site. Diigo allows you to highlight portions of web pages that are of interest to you and attach sticky notes to specific parts of the pages. When you bookmark a page with Diigo, you are saving the URL for the web page you are on and also saving a cached image of your page so that you have a copy of the original page along with notes and highlights, even if the content of the page changes. Diigo allows users to create tags to organize information and has several advanced search options, such as titles, tags, URLs, and full-text. Diigo offers three levels of services: the free plan allows unlimited bookmarks, 1000 highlights per years, and 30 cached pages, but you also see ads; the basic and premium plans offers more features for an annual price and do not have ads. Diigo may be a good alternative for departments that want to create a group knowledge repository with threaded discussions and annotations that can be shared by teams that are located in different regions/time zones.

    Take some time to explore the social bookmarking options that are available and you will likely find one that fits the needs of your organization.

  • Thu, July 26, 2012 1:15 PM | Laura Parshall
    The NEDRA Board would like to take this opportunity to thank all those members who have volunteered to serve on various Board committees. Your hard work and dedication are appreciated!

    NEDRA News Editorial Committee
    Hilarie Ashton
    Molly Carocci
    Lisa Foster
    Vicki Law
    Julie Macksoud
    Callie Curran Morrell
    Debbie Neumann
    Michael Parker
    Mary Taddia
    Greg Tharp
    Rebecca Tiernan
    Tina Tong
    Karyn Vostok
    Chris Vrotsos

    Marketing Committee
    David Owens
    Oertel Sparks

    Conference Committee
    Nikki Grimes
    Kristen Jenkins Watson

    Programming Committee
    Nancy Faughnan
    Mary Taddia

  • Thu, July 26, 2012 1:07 PM | Laura Parshall
    This month, the Programming committee is looking for space to hold programs. If you have space that could be made available to NEDRA at no cost for a program, please contact James Cheng or Amy Begg. Please note: this space does not need to be located in Boston! Space across New England is both needed and wanted! Also, keep in mind that you do not need to speak in order to host a NEDRA event, so this could be a great way for our members who are new to research to make some connections within NEDRA.
  • Thu, July 26, 2012 1:06 PM | Laura Parshall
    We're happy to announce that the 2013 Conference will be held at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA--the same location we had for the 2012 conference, but with even more space available to us this time around! Dates will be announced soon, so stay tuned.
  • Thu, July 26, 2012 1:01 PM | Laura Parshall

    Planning for this fall's programs is fully underway! The date of the upcoming Research Basics Boot Camp has been set for October 19th, 2012, at Northeastern University. If you're new to the development research field, or just looking to polish up your basic research skills, this is the program for you. Registration information will follow at a later date.

    The Programming Committee also has plans for a Research Directors' Forum, a Data Analytics 101 workshop, and a presentation on campaign planning and execution, with more programming still in the works. Stay tuned to the NEDRA News Blog for more info as it becomes available.
  • Thu, July 26, 2012 12:50 PM | Laura Parshall

    This year, we will be highlighting noteworthy statistics and moments from each month in NEDRA’s history, in honor of NEDRA’s 25th anniversary as an organization.

    In this month in NEDRA's history:

    • July 1987: Joe Donnelly elected president for 1987-1988
    • July 2000: 369 members
    • July 23, 1987 – NEDRA incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


465 Waverly Oaks Road, Suite 421
Waltham, MA 02452

© 2021 New England Development Research Association


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software