Dear Reader,

Thank you for joining us on this adventure. Because this is not a book in the traditional, fixed-in-Times New Roman, meaning of the word. It is an evolving, knowledge-sharing, community-building venture into the furthest reaches of our knowledge, norms and beliefs in research. It is an adventure in which we invite you to join, to share your knowledge, and to take us to the future.

Built by the community of researchers in fundraising [OR prospect researchers], the Handbook covers three domains – Ethics, Data and Technical Skills, and Career.

Photo of Christopher Carnie

Prospect research is the crucible in which fundraising ethics is purified, because we researchers are at the meeting point between the donor’s heart, and their money. We are the people who search through their life story, their work, and their actions to find their philanthropy – their “love for mankind”. In that search we question ourselves every day about where we can look and what we can justifiably collect to help them, our donor, to fulfil their philanthropy. At the same time we search for red signals in the data, the signals that say – for our organisation – we cannot accept your philanthropy.

From a tiny group of pioneers, you – the community of researchers – have built a profession with a unique skill set. In the Data and Technical Skills Domain of this Handbook you will find the best current practice in our profession – from analytics to wealth estimation and from benchmarking to visualising data. In this Domain are the sources, the techniques and the tools that you need every day in your research.

But prospect research is far more than just a technical job. It is a strategic role in the development of the organisation and its management. Communicating research turns out to be almost as important as the research itself, and that means soft skills, people management and leadership – topics that are covered in the Career Domain.

This Handbook is the work of a community of volunteers – both in its inception and in the review and updating of its content. It is a gift from them to all of us; thank you, Researchers in Fundraising.

You, dear reader, are welcome to this community – we look forward to your contribution to this evolving Handbook.

Welcome to the adventure.

Christopher Carnie, FCIOF FinstFr, @chrisfactary

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