Knowledge Management & Development Coordinator at Obis Africa.

Camilla has worked in the non‐profit sector for over thirteen years with a focus on information and knowledge management and investigative research.  She has worked as a Prospect Researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Development Office (2000 – 2006), and Donor Analyst and Development Manager at the University of the Western Cape’s Office of Development & Public Affairs. She was the Knowledge Manager at The Children’s Hospital Trust, responsible for Proposal development, internal and donor report writing, systems management and input into establishing strategic workflow processes to support the organisations operational activities. Currently, she is the Knowledge Management & Development Coordinator at Orbis Africa.

Five Questions

How long have you worked in Advancement and in which organisations and institutions have you contributed to the Advancement work?

I have worked in the Advancement sector for over 13 years, with a focus on fundraising strategic support, investigative research, donations management and donor liaison. I have worked at the University of Cape Town’s Development Office as a prospect researcher and at the University of the Western Cape as their researcher and running their Development Unit operations. At The Children’s Hospital Trust I am responsible for Proposal and Report writing, donor systems management and input into establishing strategic workflow processes

What are the parallels and contrasts of working for a university vs. working for a non-profit organisation?

Parallels: Project implementation partners are not the primary fundraisers. However, I believe the Children’s Hospital Trust is unique in this respect as many if not most non-profits implement the projects they are funding.

Contrast: The capacity to fundraise, the number of projects that are supported and resources available are far greater at universities. In addition, you could be fundraising for projects in many academic faculties (humanities, environmental science, health sciences) whereas the project focus area for a non-profit is usually quite specific (i.e. paediatric healthcare). Prospect Researchers need to become specialists in their field so in many ways, the latter makes this easier to achieve.

Given your years of experience in prospect research, how would you make the case for prospecting for organisations not yet engaged in active prospect research?

The key to a successful fundraising strategy are the number of good approachable prospects you know will support your project. To find these, you need to vet the list you have, whether they’re existing donors or new ones. This means creating a strategy for engaging potential donors (i.e. they need a reason to say yes and you need to find out what they’re interested in to get the yes). Successful prospecting requires structured time set aside to achieve your fundraising targets.

You attended the APRA Conference in 2007. How did that learning event shape your work and thinking?

  • Prospect research has moved from data to decisions, from data integration to predictive analysis.
  • The fundraising team should be enabled to raise the required funds (they are the professionals in this field, which is why they were hired in the first place so trust their decisions and recommendations).
  • Individual giving is the key to sustainable project funding.

Which information are you constantly referring to and/or recommending?

  • Sangonet (South Africa) – good, local content on advancement and philanthropy
  • Inyathelo – advancement trends and philanthropic reviews
  • Funds for NGOs (USA/Global) – online initiative, working for the sustainability of NGOs by increasing their access to donors, resources, and skills,  using technology to spread knowledge and increase capacity.
  • @TEDNews – providing information on all TED talks, conferences etc. new, creative thinking and ideas
  • Daily Maverick – news, information, analysis and opinion
  • Newspapers  – print and online (Business DayM&GCape Times@barrybateman@timeslive)