Ohio Prospect Research Network
Established 1987 - Apra Ohio Chapter
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.
Donna Wolf, Senior Associate Director, Prospect Development, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
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!
Insatiable Curiosity and Big Questions: Philosophers as Philanthropy Researchers - Apra Connections
Tapping Your Talents: Millennials in Philanthropy - Understanding the Millennial Mindset - AFP
4 Ways to Make Donor-Advised Funds Simpler and Fairer - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Your Emoji Style Is Making You Look Bad to Your Younger Team Members - Inc.
Make Obituary Searches Easier with Obit Magnet - ResearchBuzz
Foundation Prospecting 101 and Free Foundation Prospecting Resources: Part 2 - Apra Connections
Fonts for Graphs - Evergreen Data
A Former Hacker's Guide to Boosting Your Online Security - ProPublica
Fundraising Tools: Ethics and You - Tackling Ethics Questions - AFP
Jenny Sowash, Donor Services Coordinator, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Do you have any side hustles?
I am the owner of Vintage Promotions which runs an arts and crafts show called ChristmasFair at the Ohio Expo Center every November the weekend before Thanksgiving.
I have worked at the Columbus Zoo for over thirty years. I have been lucky enough to be in the correct spot at the right time and have been able to grow with the Zoo. I love to learn new software and to figure out how to do new things. I went from being the mail clerk to running the computer helpdesk when everyone was learning how to use Windows and Office products. I volunteered to take a class on Raiser’s Edge and somehow I ended up running the donor database and researching donors. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to learn and grow. Always be willing to learn!
What are you reading now?
I am a voracious consumer of audio books. I download them from the library and usually listen to at least two a week.
What do you listen to on your commute?
What is your favorite dessert?
Anything chocolate and ala mode.
Plumbing! Dripping faucets are so annoying.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do or where you work?
I am part of a great team who make coming to work everyday fun and interesting. You never know what you will see at the Zoo!
Performance Managing Yourself - Marti Fischer Group
Steve Grimes: Prospect Research - The Development Debrief podcast
Do You Need a Single Map or Several Maps? - depict data studio
Wealthy Donors Want Their Giving to be Different Than Their Parents', New Study Says - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
This past year, we’ve been sharing member spotlights in an effort to get know members better and quite a few have shared what they’ve been reading. In case you missed a few spotlights, here are some suggestions for your book pile:
Foundation Prospecting 101 and Free Foundation Prospecting Resources: Part 1 - Apra Connections
Donors Drop by 7% but Dollars Up by 6.2%, Buoyed by Major Donors - AFP
How To Make Networking Events Less Awkward: Be a Croissant, Not a Bagel - NPR
The Science of Resting (Well) - Fast Company
Laurie Wise-Maher, Prospect Pipeline and Research Specialist, MetroHealth
I can take a walk through the hospital and see every color, shape and age of face, hear several different languages being spoken and feel all the things: the empathy, anger, fear, caring, love, joy and hope in the people I pass. I’ve never worked for a more diverse organization – I’m very grateful to be of service to my community through my small role.
What was your first nonprofit job?
I was out of college and in my 20’s and my younger sister got involved in AmeriCorps. Her experience was my first adult view into the world of nonprofits. I had never really had an interest or explored the role of nonprofit organizations in a community before. Her involvement inspired me to look for a job in nonprofit work. I accepted a job at LifeShare, organizing community and corporate blood drives for local hospitals. I’ve been working for nonprofit organizations ever since.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” The quote has been attributed to different people over the years, but I read it on a postcard in a gift shop. It really resonated with me at that moment in time. As silly as it may sound, reading and being reminded of those words created a shift in my perspective on work and life. It also continues to help me recognize and appreciate effort, focus and commitment in accomplishing difficult things.
What song always gets you out on the dance floor?
Do I have to choose just one? Nostalgia wins the day on this question - Push it, by Salt-N-Pepa. Every. Single. Time.
I love clean eating, but it is so much work. Washing food, chopping food, measuring, spices… then all those dishes. I’d rather have a personal chef. Especially if they will shop for the food too. There’s nothing that I enjoy less than cooking (except being late… and full-length animated films).
The Data Crisis Catch-22: How the Pandemic Created a Social Sector Data Gap - Candid
What Does Philanthropy Sound Like, Part 1: Learning From Donors of Color - The Center for Effective Philanthropy
How to Tell If You're Delegating Too Much - and What to Do About It - HBR
Cryptocurrency - AASP All About Supporting Philanthropy podcast
"Show Up!" A Conversation with Helen Brown, President of the Helen Brown Group - Philanthropy Masterminds podcast
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