Ms. Diana Mills
Before coming to Union, I worked for the Knox County Board of Education for 33 years where I served as a language arts teacher for 16 years and as a librarian/media specialist for the remainder of my career. In addition to my classroom duties, I wrote, coordinated and oversaw numerous state and federal grants for my school and school system. I’m often asked if I miss teaching, and I always reply that what I miss most about teaching is the wonderful students that I was privileged to work with over the years. I graduated from Knox Central High School, and received my BS, MA and Rank I from Union College. I received my library science certification for K-12 from the University of Kentucky.
I’ve always been actively involved in my church and community events such as PRIDE and the Redbud Festival, where I serve as the coordinator for Writers’ Row.
After my retirement from the school system, I was looking for something that will allow me to continue to use the skills and knowledge that I have developed and Advancement was a perfect fit.
Part of my job involves writing and coordinating state, federal and foundation requests for funding. Long before the application is submitted, I have researched grant programs looking for a good fit for Union. Every grant application requires a specific application. This application must demonstrate that Union possesses three qualities: that Union is a good fit for the grant being offered; that Union can demonstrate a past history of excellence; and that Union has a clear strategy for using the grant if it is awarded.
Another component of my job is prospect research, also known as development research or fundraising research, Prospect researchers conduct research to evaluate a prospect's ability to give, also called capacity (how much the individual is worth) and warmth toward the organization, a.k.a. affinity (how close the prospect feels to the organization). Prospect researchers also analyze data in a donor or constituent database to identify new potential major donors or to predict which groups of constituents are most likely to make major gifts. Prospect researchers use a variety of resources, including public records, business and financial publications, and Internet databases.
I adhere to a code of ethics set up by the Council For Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to protect both Union and the prospects that I research.
What I like about this work is that building a strong relationship is one of the most important components of the job. I’m a people person and this fits me perfectly. Relationships with others can never be perfect and are usually complex, tricky, often a complete mystery that must be preserved, but these relationships are more important than perfecting what we know about donors through research.