Campus News

DAR staffer’s career takes a ‘write’ turn into database analytics, reports

Daynes Parker, report writer in the advancement services unit of the Division of Development & Alumni Relations, is the current president of the Junior League of Athens, which serves as stewards of the Taylor-Grady House on Prince Avenue (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski)

Daynes Parker may have a bachelor’s degree in English, but the “language” she uses each day in her position isn’t what you’d expect.

“Doing what I do in UGA’s database is like learning a different language,” said Parker, a report writer in the advancement services unit of the Division of Development & Alumni Relations. “You have to learn the logic of how the database thinks, because it’s not always how we would naturally think.”

When someone at UGA needs information for their events, marketing efforts or even prospect management, Parker pulls those details from GAIL, which stands for Giving and Alumni Information Link, and sends out the report. Demographics is just one of those reporting areas and one that Parker finds fascinating because “it’s interesting to see who’s out there.”

The work that Parker and the advancement services unit does provides an important function for the university by providing an accessible, central location for accurate data from the Division of Development & Alumni Relations. And this isn’t her first time working in this field. After her graduation from UGA, Parker said she spent some time in different jobs exploring what she might like to do. That eventually led to a position working in data management at a private firm in Madison. She wanted to be back in Athens and thought her current position would be a natural fit.

“Analytics isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, and that’s understandable,” she said, “but it’s the only way we know that what we’re doing is working. It’s how we quantify our fundraising and marketing efforts.”

According to Parker, that information is important because it can be used to solve problems and help colleges, schools and units across campus.

Parker is committed to solving problems in the community, too. As the current president of the Junior League of Athens, she leads an organization committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the action and leadership of trained volunteers.

“Data in general show that the most effective way to improve whole communities is to help out the women in those communities,” she said. “If you can teach women, their knowledge and gains will be passed on to the rest of the community. Women have a unique ability to create change.”

The Junior League of Athens is part of the Association of Junior Leagues International, started in 1901. Its focus is training women in effective leadership so that they can lead in their communities, whether that is in the business world or in the nonprofit world. The intention, Parker said, is to “take the skills you learn in the Junior League and apply them to other organizations.

“One of the things that the Junior League has done for me is show me that I’m capable of more than I think I am,” she said. “I hope to do my part to keep it moving forward.”