I just returned from Chicago, where I attended (and spoke at) the first annual conference of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP). AASP describes itself as “an international organization for individuals interested in the profession of advancement services.” Advancement Services staff (aka Development Services, Development Operations, Advancement Operations) generally support fundraising , membership, and external relations, including entering gifts and memberships, maintaining constituent contact information, and supporting the donor/member/constituent database or CRM system Advancement Services might also include IT management, donor and member relations, stewardship, prospect research, financial management, and office management.
The conference included sessions on topics like managing Advancement Services staff, data management, decision support systems, outsourcing, fundraising trends, social networking, vendor and system trends, data mining, ethics and accountability, project management, gift processing best practices, donor stewardship, and overall Advancement Services best practices.
The conference organizers did a fantastic job of pulling everything together, and I was happy to have participated. I’ll certainly go again.