CIoF Researchers in Fundraising Group launches handbook to support best practice in fundraising research

Researchers in Fundraising announce the launch of the RiF Handbook

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Researchers in Fundraising Group has today (10 February) released a handbook to support best practice in fundraising research.

The Handbook, Researchers in Fundraising: Best Practice Guide and Handbook for Prospect Research is a crowd-sourced resource created by prospect researchers for prospect researchers. Information and guidance on the diverse range of skills and knowledge required for successful, professional, and ethical prospect research in the UK and internationally will be brought together through a central online hub.

The project is a collaboration written by a team of prospect research professionals from numerous countries who volunteered their time to collectively discuss, write, review, amend and finalise the content.


The Handbook aims to ensure that those working in prospect research are equipped to undertake successful and ethical prospect research, and to understand the breadth of tasks and responsibilities that can often form part of a prospect researcher’s wider remit.

It explores three key areas:

• Ethics: Enhancing understanding of the role of ethics in prospect research and the practical implications of ethical good practice.

• Data Skills and Technical Skills: Increasing knowledge of the data skills and technical skills essential to the role of prospect researcher and the ability to implement them.

• Career: Developing greater awareness of career pathways in prospect research and the professional standards associated with good practice as individuals and as team members.

The Handbook is the work of Researchers in Fundraising, known as RiF: a team of volunteer prospect researchers dedicated to supporting their colleagues and their profession. A special interest group of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, it was founded in 1993.

The Chair of the Researchers in Fundraising Group, Chris Davis, said:

“We hope that the Handbook will be an invaluable resource for those working in prospect research, and for the wider fundraising sector. It contains a vast amount of detailed information and guidance on all areas of prospect research, and is designed to be relevant for both early-career and experienced researchers and fundraisers working across a range of organisations. We at RiF are hugely grateful to the many generous volunteers who have given their time and knowledge to ensure that this project could come to life.”

Former Chair of The Chair of the Researchers in Fundraising Group, Ben Rymer, said:

“The Handbook is a huge step forward in the development of the UK not-for-profit and higher education fundraising sector. It brings together, for the first time, the collected expertise of dozens of practitioners and industry leaders to create a comprehensive repository of best practices for prospect research, a discipline which supports billions of pounds-worth of charitable income. In line with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s chartership, the handbook supports users to follow best-practice in their fundraising research. The fact that it has been crowd-sourced from volunteers is especially innovative. Its launch is a landmark moment for the prospect research community, and for UK fundraising.”

The Handbook’s pricing starts at £75.