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NEDRA NEWS
 

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.


  • Thu, May 24, 2012 6:18 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)

    Registration for this event is now open – please visit our Events page for further event details, directions and parking information, and to sign up to attend!




    Living in the Gray Area: Understanding Wealth that isn’t Black and White

    Friday, June 8th, 2012

    9:00am–9:30am (Optional networking time); 9:30am–11:00am (program)
    Registration Deadline: Friday, June 1, 2012
    Location: Teele Hall, Harvard Business School, 230 Western Ave, Boston, MA 02163

     

    Presenters:

    Amy Begg, Deputy Director of Research, Harvard University
    Anne Brownlee, Director of Development Research, Harvard Medical School

     

    Regardless of your political affiliation, Mitt Romney’s tax returns have given researchers an inside view of the gray area of wealth. How can we take what we learn from this filing and apply the concepts to a broader prospect base? In this session we will review how to look differently at some of the tools researchers use on a regular basis. We will use individual examples to try to understand and explain what is going on “behind the curtain.” In this session we hope to explore how to develop the researcher “gut” and how to think holistically about prospects. This session is targeted for researchers who have been in the field for 2-5 plus years.

     

    Space is limited so register early!

     

    Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

  • Thu, May 24, 2012 5:41 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)

    This month, Hilarie Ashton, Senior Institutional Research Analyst at New York University, offers up a review of Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online, published in 2006. Thanks to Hilarie for taking the time to review this resource for all of us!

    REVIEW:

    Any collection of essays has a tricky task at hand when its goal is to tackle a gargantuan topic through the lenses and expertise of several different authors, and Hart et al's Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online (Wiley, 2006) has its proverbial work cut out for it. General readers (of the discerning variety) are primed to try to see how the essays fit together while keeping individual ideas fresh and unrepeated, and whether each essay takes on a different facet of the question at hand. An audience of prospect researchers would be, it seems to me, a more exacting and even more discerning group than the general public. We are, after all, architects of narrative in addition to seekers of new information, so we suss out structure and meaning just as we look for new data points and skills to add to our respective arsenals. Even novice researchers, the intended audience for this book, tend to have a strong inclination to sort and learn and organize - these skills are part of what will end up making them effective at their jobs.

    Overall, Major Donors succeeds more on the new information front than on the essay/structure front. While the editors included a variety of experts from different disciplines, there seems to be a rather confusing dearth of representation from amongst the higher education and hospital fields within the pool of contributors. Each author, often collaborating with others within a single given essay, offers several useful nuggets of information to share with a beginning researcher. However, the book falls short on reader expectations – it seems to attempt to satisfy said expectations, but doesn’t meet them cleanly, and the global, unifying perspective of a book editor is hardly evident. The book's introduction touts itself as "the first truly global compilation of e-research techniques" (xxi, from Foreword), but such a distinction could only be true when limited to books about prospect research (even in 2006). Furthermore, its claim to "the barely tapped resources of e-research" (ibid.) is awkward at best, and false at worst. Statistics are seen to be repeated more than once across essays, while some of the graphics were badly typeset. In addition, this book neither seems able to decide if it wants to be an outline or a collection of essays, nor whether it wants to be descriptive or prescriptive. The balance that it tries to strike is at times awkward - with some of the essays, the information most useful to the beginning researcher or fundraiser is readily available and comprises the bulk of the piece, yet with others, the reader has to wade through a lot of filler to get to actionable data.

    This is not, however, to say that the book doesn't contain valuable information. Several essays have a real-world example as a focal point: Both Wylie and Lawson's and Powell's examples are particularly helpful, and Carnie and Boodleman Tenney's great essay on international research has several. This technique helps to ground an essay's disparate recommendations into one tangible example, guaranteeing that the casual reader will come away with something, while also leaving a trail of small and useful statistics and tips through which the closer reader can dig. The editors would have done well to encourage all of their authors to adopt this technique. Several essays carefully outline their arguments, giving the beginning researcher or fundraiser actionable steps to try out the suggested tactics within their own organizations.

    It's also interesting and a little awkward to read this book in the technological climate in which we find ourselves at this time, six years after the book's publication. Much of its advice is incredibly outdated: we all know what blogs are now, and many of us, especially in the research community, depend on an RSS feed as part of our daily operations. Given the ephemeral nature of the book's basic subject (online information sources), I would also think that the authors/editors would have added a disclaimer about website addresses changing, companies folding, et cetera. (There are even a few inaccuracies, most notably in the identification of the now-defunct social networking site Friendster as an online dating site.) The gradual obsolescence of certain pieces of information is not, of course, the fault of Major Donors' authors or editors, but it decreases much of the book's current usefulness. This is particularly true since so much of the most useful information on research techniques today is being delivered directly through RSS feeds and Twitter accounts, rather than appearing in book form. Major Donors was written for its very particular moment, which would present less of a problem if its characterization of said moment had been more diligently drawn.

    Ultimately, Major Donors would be most useful to a new researcher as part of an arsenal of several books. While it isn't strong enough to stand on its own, its appendices are stellar, and its information, dated as it may be, will certainly help to strengthen the skills of a new researcher.

     SOURCE REVIEWED: Hart, Ted, James M. Greenfield, Pamela M. Gignac, Christopher Carnie. Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2006.






  • Thu, May 24, 2012 5:37 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)
    At this year's annual meeting, NEDRA welcomed five new NEDRA board members. Get to know them here!

    James W. Cheng, Ph.D.

    Assistant Director of Analytics, Development Research

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Jimmy Fund

     

    James currently holds the position of Assistant Director of Analytics in Development Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Like many folks in development research, James' background is not directly related to philanthropy or fundraising. Other than resource development, he's made intellectual and professional forays into cell and development biology, secondary science education, as well as educational research, measurement, and evaluation. While finishing up a doctorate degree in applied statistics in education at Boston College, James' interest in development was piqued when he also took on the role of Prospect Data Mining and Modeling Specialist at MIT from 2006 to 2008. After spending time in the corporate world as a healthcare market researcher, James returned to "the Light," working at Dana-Farber since January of 2011.

     


     

    Anne Brownlee

    Director of Development Research

    Harvard Medical School

     

    Anne Brownlee is the Director of Development Research at Harvard Medical School. She was previously Assistant Director of Research and Training Manager at Harvard’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, where she oversaw research efforts in the New York Region and London, and worked to educate researchers and fundraisers on wealth and philanthropic trends. Anne joined Harvard in 2006 after two years as a Senior Research Analyst at Brown University. She started her career in development research in 2002 at Brandeis University. She has a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College and a master's degree in library science from Indiana University.

     


     

    Ian T. Wells

    Associate Director of Development, Prospect Research

    Massachusetts General Hospital

     

    Ian T. Wells serves as Associate Director of Development, Prospect Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.  In this role, he oversees a team of research officers, manages fundraiser portfolios and provides proactive and reactive research on prospective donors.  His accomplishments include leading efforts to create several development plans for the $1.5 billion Campaign for the Third Century of MGH Medicine, developing a training program for new researchers, orienting new development staff to research and initiating proactive research protocols.

     

    Prior to joining Mass General in 2008, Mr. Wells was a Senior Prospect Researcher at the Children’s Hospital Trust, the fundraising arm of Children’s Hospital Boston.  He previously worked in a number of positions at the Trust, where he first entered the industry as a Development Associate of Prospect Research in 2001.  Mr. Wells is an alumnus of Boston College.   

     


     

    Lisa Foster

    Director of Development Research

    Phillips Academy

     

    Lisa Foster graduated from Phillips Academy in 1984, and from Oberlin College 1988.  She worked in a variety of industries prior to her life in development, doing everything from organizing a summer exchange program for students from France, to selling Tupperware.  In 2007, she joined the staff of Phillips Academy as a Prospect Researcher and is now the Director of Development Research there.  She sits on the Community Service Advisory Board at Phillips Academy and is the founder of the Sunshine Committee.  She also serves as a Director of the Haverhill Foundation for Excellence in Education and of the Discovery Club Programs in Haverhill.  Lisa has written an article for the NEDRA news, is a member of the Editorial Committee of the NEDRA Industry News Blog, has coordinated the Room Monitors for the NEDRA conferences, and has served as a Room Monitor at the annual conference for the last several years.  She lives in Haverhill, MA with her four children, an exuberant puppy and a parakeet.



     

    Suzy Campos

    Director of Advancement Research

    Amherst College

     

    Suzy Campos has been in the fundraising field for over ten years. She is the Director of Advancement Research at Amherst College. Previously, she was Assistant Director of Research and Prospect Management at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Her first prospect research position was at Children’s Memorial Hospital Foundation in Chicago. Earlier in her career, she had stints at Grenzebach Glier & Associates, McKinsey & Company, the Chicago Public Library, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Suzy holds an MILS degree from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts. She has served on the NEDRA Conference Planning Committee for the past two years. As a NEDRA board member, she is looking forward to serving as Conference Co-Chair, Board Secretary, and representing the Western New England region.


  • Thu, May 24, 2012 5:20 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)
    Blast from the past! In the Summer of 1999, NEDRA News published an article from Susan Cronin Ruderman on career choices, both within prospect research and outside of the field. How many of you moved into the research industry after a career in another field? Outside of the research field, what other types of positions might be of interest to those with our skill sets? Are you entertaining the thought of a potential career change or new position?Share your thoughts, advice, and feedback here!


    Should I Stay or Should I Go.pdf

  • Thu, May 24, 2012 5:13 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)

    The NEDRA Board of Directors would like to thank ALL of the volunteers who helped make our 25th Anniversary 2011-2012 program year a success. Whether through helping on a committee, writing or editing for NEDRA News, speaking or facilitating at a program, serving as a room monitor, or the numerous other ways in which you participated, we thank you for your time and effort!

     

     

     

    Hilarie Ashton

    Laura Beaudet

    Christopher Begg

    Jeffrey Begg

    Orhan Belding

    Sarah Benson

    Dee Black Rainville

    Helen Brown

    Anne Brownlee

    Suzy Campos

    Molly Carocci

    Charlie Carr

    Rita Casey

    James Cheng

    Sarah Cook

    Natasha Cuozzo

    Paul Dakin

    Roxie Daneshvar

    Adriana DiCecco

    Joe Donnelly

    Cheryl Doyle

    David Eberly

    Katie Edwards

    Molly Foresman

    Lisa Foster

    Will Gallaher

    Amy Gingle

    Bill Gotfredson

    Nikki Grimes

    Sarah Hall

    Samantha Harris

    Jim Holzbach

    Richard Home

    Brian Howard

    Susan Hubley

    Vicki Law

    Chris Lawler

    Amy Lewis

    Margaret Link

    Daniel Lowman

    Julie Macksoud

    Claire Malloy

    Ali McLane

    Tara McMullen

    Jill Meister

    Suzanne Milauskas

    Callie Curran Morrell

    Julia Motl

    Debbie Neumann

    Alex Oftelie

    Jeffrey Ouellette

    Elisabeth Parker

    Michael Parker

    Jeannie Patch

    Carl Pitruzello

    Daniel Quaresma

    Kathleen Quinn

    Michael Regan

    Laura Romano

    Amy Sacco

    Ginny Santamaria

    Jennifer Sargent

    Marlisa Simonson

    Courtney Smith

    David Sterling

    Meryl Stowbridge

    Katherine Swank

    Mary Taddia

    Rebecca Tiernan

    Tina Tong

    Charity Tubulado

    Karyn Vostok

    Chris Vrotsos

    Kristen Watson

    Matt Weber

    Ian Wells

     

    The NEDRA Board of Directors would also like to thank the following organizations for their collaboration over the past year:

     

    Amherst College

    Boston Ballet

    Central Connecticut State University

    City Year

    Harvard Business School

    Harvard University

    Milton Academy

    Miss Porter’s School

    Northeastern University

    Tufts University

    University of Connecticut Foundation

    University of New England

     

  • Thu, May 24, 2012 5:07 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)
    Click the picture below for more exciting information!

  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:21 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)

    Blast from the past! In the Fall of 1997, NEDRA News published an article from Jane Kokernak on the challenges of multi-faceted jobs – ah, the joys of wearing many hats at once! It is still a topic relevant today - many of us (including myself!) have to be able to multi-task and switch projects on a dime on a daily basis, while still maintaining productivity.


    How do YOU stay organized? How have your responsibilities grown over the past few years? Share your thoughts, advice, and feedback here!


    The Fine Art of Juggling - NEDRA News X-4 Fall 1997.pdf


  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:13 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)
    NEDRA's 25th Anniversary Conference was held April 23rd and 24th at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA - and it was a smashing success! Thanks to the more than 200 of you who were able to join us for two enjoyable days of information-sharing, networking, and celebration. Happy anniversary, NEDRA!

     

    Stay tuned for the full conference wrap-up and report to come later this month here on the NEDRA News blog........
  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:10 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)


    Registration for this event is now open – please visit our Events page for further event details, directions and parking information, and to sign up to attend! Additional exciting NEDRA events to follow later in 2012 - so stay tuned!



     

    Living in the Gray Area: Understanding Wealth that isn’t Black and White

    Friday, June 8th, 2012

    9:00am–9:30am (Optional networking time); 9:30am–11:00am (program)
    Registration Deadline: Friday, June 1, 2012
    Location: Teele Hall, Harvard Business School, 230 Western Ave, Boston, MA 02163


    Presenters:

    Amy Begg, Deputy Director of Research, Harvard University
    Anne Brownlee, Director of Development Research, Harvard Medical School

     

    Regardless of your political affiliation, Mitt Romney’s tax returns have given researchers an inside view of the gray area of wealth. How can we take what we learn from this filing and apply the concepts to a broader prospect base? In this session we will review how to look differently at some of the tools researchers use on a regular basis. We will use individual examples to try to understand and explain what is going on “behind the curtain.” In this session we hope to explore how to develop the researcher “gut” and how to think holistically about prospects. This session is targeted for researchers who have been in the field for 2-5 plus years.

     

    Space is limited so register early!

     

    Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:09 PM | Tara McMullen-King (Administrator)

    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:


    • April 1987: NEDRA’s Planning Committee distributes a questionnaire at the CASE District I conference on prospect research; 100 researchers responded.
    • April 1988: NEDRA held three roundtables: “Gift Processing – Whose Responsibility?” in Holyoke, Massachusetts; “How Much for Whom?” at the Mystic Seaport Museum; and “Research or Information Management?” at the University of Southern Maine.
    • April 1989: NEDRA held three more roundtables: “Researcher Women” at Mount Holyoke College; “Screening and Rating” at Phillips Exeter Academy; and the “Evolving Role of Development Researchers” at Brown University.
    • April 1993: NEDRA hit 296 members.
    • April 1996: NEDRA hit 330 members.
    • April 1998: NEDRA hosted a roundtable, “Corporation and Foundations Research” at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.
    • April 2005: NEDRA held its 18th Annual Conference at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort in Danvers, Massachusetts.
    • April 2005: NEDRA voted to affiliate with APRA as the organization’s New England chapter.
    • April 2010: NEDRA held its 23rd Annual Conference “Research: The Hub of Philanthropy” at the Radisson Hotel in Boston.
    • April 2011: NEDRA presented a workshop, An Introduction to Prospect Research, at Dartmouth College, as a joint program of NEDRA and AFP Northern New England.

    So, did any of you attend any of these events, or remember these moments? We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments here!

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781.894.1457

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