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Greetings from NEDRA's President, Renana Kehoe 

Dear NEDRA Community,

For many organizations, July marks the beginning of a new fiscal year. For NEDRA, we are kicking off the new year with five (5) new amazing board members and one (1) new committee (which will focus on advocacy in our field). This July —and summer— as everything is beginning to open up, we are exploring options for in-person programming (including an in-person Conference in the spring), while continuing to prioritize the health and safety of everyone in our community.

This summer, we will also be doing a salary survey. As more organizations are defrosting their hiring freezes and more positions are posted in the Job Center, we felt it would be helpful for job seekers and hiring managers to be aware of how positions compare in the current environment.

I am so thankful for our incredible Board and all of our volunteers (prior and new volunteers joining us this year), without whom none of this would be possible.

We can’t wait to see you in person and online (join us for fun networking trivia this month!), but we also hope you are able to unplug and take some time off to enjoy the summer with friends, family, a good book (or a Forbes Billionaires list).


Renana Kehoe

NEDRA Board President


After an exhilarating and thoughtful Keynote session with Kishshana Palmer, the conference was off to a strong start with sessions on the art market, comparative giving, and the effects of the pandemic on prospect research. Our friends at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Samantha Harris, Arielle White, and Nicole Vaughan, shared their small-shop strategies for prospecting based on where their donors were giving. They took us through the process step by step and offered the audience a look at the tool they built and how they utilized it. While geared toward a smaller organization with fewer resources, it was clear that CJP's strategy could be universally applied.

Thursday Keynote Speaker Kishshana Palmer

Thursday afternoon offered sessions on due diligence, investment advisers, and analytics. Jonathan Keane from MGH presented a detailed Investment Advisers session. He talked his audience through the seemingly opaque worlds of hedge funds, venture capital, private equity, and private wealth management, offering attendees key terms and definitions, reference materials, and even a real world (anonymous) capacity rating example. Evaluating prospects in this arena can be daunting, but Jonathan's session provided a solid foundation for moving forward with this type of prospect research.

The Due Diligence Panelists

After Chase Peterson-Withorn's revealing Keynote session on researching and interviewing the world's billionaires for Forbes, we jumped right in with sessions around demystifying CFRelations, engaging Millennials, and the emerging economy. Allison Crosscup and April Genung from Bowdoin College shared their experiences on what creates a productive partnership between prospect researchers and CFR staff. They also walked us through a 990 filing and provided a foundation profile template, which all attendees can now add to their toolboxes.

Friday Keynote with Chase Peterson-Withorn

At mid-day, a variety of round table sessions were available to everyone. The sessions this year tackled computational philanthropy, DEI, international research, prospect identification, prospect management, and small shops. After lunch, attendees could pick among topics in creative collaboration, "greeneaology", and moves management. Our own rock star, Nicole Fonsh from Harvard Business School, presented on all things moves management, including the purpose and make-up of portfolios, portfolio staging, and destigmatizing disqualification. She emphasized a "real life" approach to this work, knowing that different institutions have different needs.

Next, our generous sponsors had the stage, offering sponsor insight sessions, and well as time at the virtual sponsor booths. Thank you to Windfall, DonorSearch, iWave for sponsoring our keynote and networking sessions, as well as Aidentified, Blackbaud, Dow Jones, Insightful, LexisNexis, Wallbrook, WealthEngine, and The Helen Brown Group for their continued support of NEDRA. 

The last sessions of the day educated us on diversifying donor bases, being a Google gazelle, and the shifting planned giving donor profile. Misa Lobato from Rhode Island School of Design and Roslyn Clarke from BWF gave us a starting point for the hard work we all must do to be respectful and intentional about donor diversification strategies. They explained data bias, how to ethically collect, store, and use identity information, and they also offered resources so attendees can learn more about the philanthropic practices and motivations of marginalized communities.

As all good things must, our time together came to an end Friday afternoon. NEDRA President Renana Kehoe saw us off with closing remarks and prize winner announcements, including the winner of the extremely competitive Points-o-rama -- congratulations to Larissa Power! We thank you all so much for joining us.


After a conference in a year like none other, we at NEDRA could not be more thankful for Helen Brown Group’s continued scholarship support. This year celebrated the 10th NEDRA conference that has benefitted from Helen's generosity, which has helped a total of 13 people starting in 2011. We caught up with past recipient, Pamela Abraham (Associate Director of Operations and Research at Children’s Aid), who answered some questions about her experience with the scholarship.

Why did you apply to the Helen Brown Group Conference Scholarship?

I first learned about NEDRA when I was a Development Assistant in the Major Gifts department at Children’s Aid in NYC. I had been helping our database manager put together some basic donor profiles, and he recognized my interest in prospect research and suggested I explore it as a career path. I attended NEDRA’s Research Basics Bootcamp, and there, first learned about the Helen Brown Group Conference Scholarship. Shortly after this, I was promoted to a newly created prospect research position within my organization. This was the perfect time for me to apply for the scholarship, which allowed me to attend NEDRA’s annual conference and really dig into the field and ask all of the questions I had been coming across in my new role.

Where were you in your career when you received the scholarship?

When I received the scholarship, I was about 9 years into my nonprofit career, but had spent the first half of it working directly in programs. I had made the transition to development a few years prior, held some entry-level roles, then finally took on a more senior role that focused on prospect research about a year before receiving the scholarship.

What were some valuable takeaways from that NEDRA conference (or other NEDRA conferences)?

As the only prospect researcher at my organization, I didn’t have many internal resources to help me grow and improve, so the NEDRA conference was incredibly valuable to me. It provided me with the chance to explore all areas of prospect research, and connected me with a great community of people to learn from and network with.

What advice would you give to a researcher new to the field?

I would definitely suggest taking advantage of the resources available to you—go to conferences, ask questions, join the APRA listserv, and connect with others in the field. Prospect Research is such a great community of people who are always looking to help each other learn and grow.