Hello! My name is Steven Lange and I am the Prospect Research Manager at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.
I was the 2017 recipient of the Apra Wisconsin scholarship, which supported my first Apra International Prospect Development conference experience. At the time I had only been in the prospect research field for a year and a half, so attending this conference, located this past year in sunny Anaheim, CA, was very helpful in continuing my education and training. And I hope giving you a taste of my conference experience will encourage you to apply for the scholarship in 2018.
I heard from industry colleagues on a range of diverse topics, including international research in Asia, tools for onboarding and motivating new staff, identifying GenX and Millennial prospects, and strategic partnership with gift planning – to name just a few. The sessions furthered my personal development, and boosted my own research skills, but they also helped me identify strategic enhancements for our prospect research program at WFAA.
The networking opportunities were also beneficial and fun. I enjoyed breakfast with a few colleagues to discuss foundation research; spent lunch with Penn State, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Manitoba, during which we discussed the structure of our teams and research resources; and attended a laidback happy hour with Apra peers from around the Midwest. I’ve found networking opportunities, like the Apra happy hour, to be great opportunities for advancing career goals while hearing about new and interesting projects other organizations are doing. Oh, and if you go with a team, it can be fun, at conference meals, to sit at different tables than your teammates so you can meet even more people!
I would like to thank the scholarship committee for selecting me, and Apra Wisconsin for creating this opportunity in the first place. The 2018 Apra conference is in Pittsburgh, and it sounds great, so I encourage each of you to apply for the scholarship!