Chris Carnie interview: “‘value added’ donors have great potential…we can make an inspiring offer”

Chris C

Chris is the founder of research consultancy Factary, and an expert in fundraising in the UK and continental Europe.  He tweets at @chrisfactary and blogs at

The interview is mostly about prospect research, where it has come from and where it is going.  We also discuss ‘value added’ donors, or those falling between traditional markets of individual and major giving, and the potential in this group to play a major part in UK fundraising.  Interesting to contract this with Adrian Salmon’s recent blog on lessons UK higher education fundraising has for charities.  HE blends individual giving and major gifts in innovative ways, as Adrian notes (of which more later), and consequently has a very different mix of donations, with major giving predominant.  Is this a glimpse into the charity sector’s future?

Any prospect researchers out there will be interested to hear about the history of the discipline and how it has evolved since the days when screening meant sifting through paper copies of the Rich List and Who’s Who.  Although we still do this, the range of resources we use has certainly moved on.

Re-listening to the interview reminded me of a comment from another interviewee, Marianne Pelletier, who made the analogy with baseball recently in saying:

“Coaches know early on who will be a better player and how to get them there.
They watch certain stats.  On our side of the fence, Harvard, way back in 1988 when we barely had computers, used to know at a class’s fifth reunion who would give the $1 million professorship at their 25th. They knew because they knew the alumni.  There is a good mixture of stats and hands-on cultivation that will get us to a point where we can predict the winners of the future. I think the next horizon for us as data miners [and researchers] is to figure out how to communicate with our field officers and get richer insight. [italics added]”

Is the “next horizon” to improve human capital in our organisations, and break down the silos?

I hope you enjoy the interview.  If there are future interviewees you would like to hear from, let me know in the comments, or tweet me @benrymer, and I’ll try to make it happen.

One thought on “Chris Carnie interview: “‘value added’ donors have great potential…we can make an inspiring offer”

  1. Pingback: Donor Identification in the 21st Century - The Helen Brown Group

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s