I’m not usually one to brag, but if I’m being completely honest, I have to say I work at a pretty awesome place.
Recently, I’ve been giving more thought to the things that have the greatest impact on this general awesomeness. And one of those is the highly collaborative relationship that we strive to maintain between the research staff and the frontline fundraisers. Overall, we’re successful in keeping this good thing going, and I’m continually trying to put my finger on what exactly we have here that provides the foundation of that success.
Clearly our frontline fundraisers play a leading role in this success. First and foremost, they’re all just great people, but also they are invested in the services we provide, and they appreciate the work that we do. They also are always more than willing to engage in lively conversations about their prospects and what they’re currently working on with those prospects. It’s not unusual for a researcher to have an impromptu meeting with a gift officer to learn more about how their most recent donor visit went, and it’s common for a fundraiser to stop by and say “Guess what I just learned in a visit with so and so…”
In my time here, this great partner-relationship has always struck me as something very special. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to conferences and heard other prospect researchers complaining about how inaccessible their major gift officers are, or how “they just don’t get it.” After hearing this sort of thing, I’m always happy to come away thinking about how lucky I am to not have that problem where I work.
Our fundraisers deserve a huge share of the credit for this!
But the researchers play a role as well. We continually strive to be key partners with the frontline fundraisers – supporting them, yes, but also collaborating and strategizing with them where opportunities allow.
What exactly does that involve on the part of the researcher? It includes a lot of the following activities:
- Thinking creatively about strategies around engaging prospects
- Helping translate the fundraiser’s activities into the appropriate coding in the system
- Proactively seeking new prospects
- Providing timely updates about the fundraiser’s current prospects
- Explaining, in clear un-jargoned terms, the nuances of the work we do (including our wealth & capacity ratings and our predictive modeling)
- Not just gathering information in the course of our work, but also interpreting and analyzing it to formulate suggestions and ideas for next steps
By continuing to do all of these things (and more), we do our part to keep good working relationships on the right track.
And now I need to find someone to join our research staff and help keep this good thing going. We’re looking for a researcher who can jump in and be a valuable partner to our fundraisers – one who’s got great research chops, but who can also effortlessly interface with the folks on the front lines.