Ohio Prospect Research Network
Established 1987 - Apra Ohio Chapter

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  • May 12, 2023 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Anne White, Senior Prospect Research, University Hospitals

    What's the best career advice you've ever received?

    I’ve got two:

    • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If someone recognizes a special skillset or quality you have (that you may or may not recognize yourself) and offers you an opportunity, take it; work where the culture is going to value what you uniquely bring to the workplace.
    • I think one of the best things I’ve heard recently is when dealing with a complicated email exchange (especially if with a passive aggressive personality), pick up the phone.

    If you could complete one work-related task with a wave of your hand, what task would you choose?

    Entering data into database.

    What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

    How to do a meaningful and strategic profile.

    How do you approach traveling on vacation? Do you make an itinerary or just explore?

    Hybrid.  I try to have a few key destinations but don’t like to let the spontaneity of the trip be spoiled with too long of a checklist.

    What are you reading now?

    Just finished reading both Spare by Prince Harry and Palace Papers by Tina Brown.

    Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

    Hall and Oates (child of the 70’s!).

    Are you an early bird or night owl?

    Night owl.

  • February 27, 2023 8:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Betsy Schmidt-Gullett, Executive Director of Prospect Development, University of Cincinnati Foundation

    What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing it?

    I wanted to be an artist… singing, acting, dancing, painting, writing poetry… all the things!  Sadly, I have no performing arts talents. I still occasionally write, but only for myself to “find the truth” as Madeleine L’Engle used to say.

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    The obvious answer: spend more time with my kiddos and travel!  Honestly, I have always thought that if I didn’t have to work I would still work in some capacity – part-time or as a volunteer, but would feel the need to do something to help others. 

    What are you reading now?

    The Scholomance Series by Naomi Novik – Just finished this series and LOVED it!  If you enjoyed Hunger Games, the Divergent trilogy or Harry Potter, I highly recommend this series!  Literally read the first two books over a weekend.

    What’s a random fact you recently learned?

    An octopus has nine brains!  My boys told me this and I couldn’t believe that it was true… but it is… these kids are fascinating.

    Favorite way to reenergize during the day?

    Take a walk – move around – dance in the kitchen.  My brain starts working better after I start moving my body.  Love to have walking meetings!

  • January 20, 2023 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jennifer Ewing, Senior Prospect Research Specialist, Akron Children’s Hospital

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    Volunteer at my daughter’s school and with at-risk youth.

    What childhood rule was most difficult for you to follow?

    No talking in class.

    What's the best career advice you've ever received?

    Make sure you enjoy what you do.

    When/where was your first Apra conference?

    2019 Scottsdale, AZ

    Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

    Dave Matthews Band

  • December 12, 2022 7:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    General Notes:

    • Proactive gets pushed to the back burner many times. Some try to use “offensive calendaring” to block days/time for proactive work.
    • Gift officers want new names but aren’t always following-up or feedback is informal.


    • For some teams, proactive identification is not a specific department/team goal or metric but keep track for personal year-end reporting. May vary by team member based on individual roles.
    • Some track proactive identification but less formal procedures or policies or expectations for gift officer follow-up. Typically, after a period of no real outreach the follow-up is simply “drop assignment.” Cincinnati Children’s started a more formal “blitz” process (scheduled work-flow in NXT) where each newly assigned prospect is mailed, emailed, called, etc. so many times before they can be dropped. Based on capacity and giving levels, more outreach attempts are expected if higher rating and/or giving.
    • Building a dashboard (very new)

    Identification of individual names:

    • Review internal lists on regular basis: new donors, donors over $500, volunteers, event attendees, DAF donors, IRA donors
    • Review names associated with affiliations of current board members or donors
    • Review WealthEngine / iWave screenings – donors to similar/relevant organizations (arts org for Art school; donors to pediatric cancer organizations)
    • livealumni and RelSci mentioned
    • Peer review of lists by board members but it can be time consuming and often hard to get consistent follow-up from volunteers
    • News alerts/other alerts can generate an overwhelming number to read through unless very specific criteria. Many times never get reviewed! Using vendors such as aidentified or Insightful can help with curating/targeting alerts (news around IPOs, stock transactions, investment, relationship mapping).
    • Names presented generally meet certain criteria (capacity, giving, connection). Very rare to get gift officers to follow-up on high-capacity, lower connection prospects but depends on department/unit and need for new prospects.

    How are names presented/shared with gift officers:

    • One-on-one meetings with gift officers
    • Regular meetings with all gift officers
    • Regular meetings with just lead gift officers. Larger meetings can turn into free-for-all discussions.
    • Generally basic information is shared

    Corporate/foundation prospecting:

  • November 28, 2022 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bill Robbins, Research Consultant, The Ohio State University Foundation

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    Completely by happenstance! The Director of Advancement Services at the university where I was working approached me about the prospect research opening in her office. I had never worked in advancement and had only a vague idea of what prospect research was, but I was ready for a new challenge. Over two decades later, I’m still working in prospect development!

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    Travel...and ensure that I never, ever, ever saw snow again.

    What is your favorite board game?

    I don’t have a favorite board game, but I really enjoy building jigsaw puzzles!

    If you were offered a round trip to the moon, would you take it?

    Do I get to travel aboard the Millennium Falcon?

    When/where was your first Apra conference?

    Washington, D.C. in 2002.

  • November 22, 2022 8:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    George Tabet, Corporate Research Analyst, MIT

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    Like many, I kinda just fell into it. After I got my degree, I didn’t want to immediately jump into a 9-5 office job so I took a gap year and volunteered for AmeriCorps. Getting that experience in nonprofit inspired me to look for similar opportunities. I found one in event management for a public organization setting up and tearing down events. It was a good job but not what I was looking for. Eventually, I came across a prospect research position. It was a newly established role and an opportunity to build out a prospect development office from the ground up. I applied and got it and ever since I’ve stayed in prospect development within higher education. 

    What are you reading now? 

    For pleasure, The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. For work, The Book of Crypto by Henri Arslanian

    What piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career?

    To share advice that a mentor once gave me; no one ever goes broke betting on themselves. 

    Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

    Singapore! I studied there in college and had planned a trip to go back and see former classmates and coworkers but the pandemic put that on hold. 

    Is pineapple an acceptable pizza topping?

    If you enjoy it yes. For me? No. Never. Absolutely not.

  • November 14, 2022 7:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Donna Wolf, Senior Associate Director, Prospect Development, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

    How did you get into fundraising and/or prospect research?

    In the mid-1990s I was attending OSU to get my master’s degree and saw an ad in the campus newspaper for a student job in the Prospect Research office.  The duties of the job including reading local newspapers and business journals to collect articles on the alumni and donors.  Eventually a full-time prospect research position became available, so I took it and never left! 

    How do you approach traveling on vacation? Do you make an itinerary or just explore?

    I research a lot of details before arriving.  I like to go to new places so don’t want to miss a thing while I am there! 

    If you were so wealthy you didn’t need to work, what would you do with your time?

    Operate a beagle rescue organization 

    What skill would you like to master?

    Playing a musical instrument like the piano or mandolin 

    Would you rather have a personal chef, personal housekeeper, or personal chauffeur?

    Hands down a personal housekeeper.  I have a husband who loves to cook and drive but never cleans!

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