A tough economy is hard on every kind of business, but especially so for non-profit organizations. It's up to the foundation or development office to make sure the money is available to advance the organization.

Stacie Haugen, Prospect Management and Research Manager for the Allina Healthcare System, oversees prospect management and research for all 11 foundations that are part of the Allina Healthcare System.

"I help them find potential donors," Haugen said. "I also help them make sure they have the right information on those potential donors, so that we're matching passions."

When Haugen went to North Hennepin Community College, she intended to go into international relations. After transferring to the University of Minnesota, she got a job at the U of M Foundation and started working in development. She discovered that she enjoyed the work, and she's been with it ever since.

She set up the prospect research and prospect management function for Children's Hospitals and Clinics. Leaving for a year and a half helped her realize that health care was her niche, and she came back to Allina in a new position.

"The thing I like about my job is I don't have to ask for money," she said. "The fundraisers are doing that work. I'm on the investigative side -- trying to figure out what people are passionate about, what the organization does that connects to those passions. I'm trying to help the fundraisers talk to the right people and be as efficient as possible."

In the college and university world, alumni lists provide a starting point for investigation. Privacy regulations make that knowledge unavailable for health care foundations, so Haugen has to dig deeper. "I read newspapers. I follow a lot of news sources on Twitter. A lot of the folks that I identify may already be our donors, but maybe haven't found the thing at Allina that they connect with and want to get more involved in, whether it be philanthropically or otherwise. The priorities are always changing -- if you aren't passionate about something today, you could be in a couple of months."

Why is fundraising so important to a nonprofit?

Philanthropy enhances the patient experience. It's what makes your stay more enjoyable -- music therapy, private room, best technology. There are things that you get because they're the basics, but you want Allina to be the place to go because of the music therapy, the private room, the best technology. Philanthropy also helps folks pay for their care. There's a fund that helps Minneapolis public school kids pay for eye care.

How long does it take to identify and engage a donor?

If you're lucky, you could do something in six months. That's a short time in major gift giving. Major initiatives and buildings can take up to two years, sometimes longer.

Is there a particular initiative that you're proud of?

One of the more exciting projects is the Mother Baby Center. Mothers who have known risks can deliver at Childen's Hospital in a special area so the infant can get immediate care. It's a cool partnership between Abbot Northwestern and Children's Hospital and Clinics -- an exciting project that will benefit mothers and babies. It's getting some good funding and attention.

Where would you like your career to go?

I see myself doing this work long-term. Philanthropy is a little behind in terms of analytic work -- looking at marketing data, data mining, analytical evaluation. I'd like at some point to explore that a little more.