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The Basics

  • What exactly is Factary? What does it do?

    Factary is a company that provides research and related services to the non-profit sector, primarily in the UK, but also elsewhere.

    We work with non-profit organisations of all natures and sizes, providing services ranging from database screening, to prospect or donor profiling.

  • What are Factary’s credentials?

    Factary was established in 1990 by Chris Carnie, our current Chair. It was one of the first organisations established in the UK to engage in research specifically relating to the non-profit sector.

    Since then Factary has maintained its position in the vanguard of the UK’s non-profit sector through tireless innovation, care for our customers and concern for the health of the sector itself.

  • Is Factary a non-profit organisation?

    No. Factary is a for-profit organisation which operates according to ethical guidelines. While a profit-making company, Factary strives to place ethics at the core of everything we do.

  • Where can I see a copy of Factary’s Terms of Business?

    A copy of our Terms of Business can be viewed here.


Research & Profiling

  • What is prospect research?

    Prospect research is research conducted into potential supporters of a charity or charities. This is usually done to aid non-profit fundraising, and to allow charities to build long-lasting and positive relationships with their supporters.

    If you’d like to read in more detail, elsewhere on our site we’ve provided a more in-depth description of prospect research.

  • How can Factary help my organisation?

    In short: information.

    We are experts in providing research services to non-profit organisations, which can help you build better relationships with your supporters and investors, minimise unsuccessful requests for donations, identify and prioritise new sources of support, and more.

    Our subscription services and reports are essential research sources in their own right, enhancing your own research capacity.

    Through our consultancy offerings, we can provide you with the advice needed to create and maintain a customer-oriented prospect management system, and to ensure compliance with data protection guidelines.

    If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, our ‘What We Do‘ page summarises all our various services, or you can read in more detail about all our services throughout this site. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us by email, by phone on 0117 916 6740 or using our contact form, and we’ll be happy to talk over the options with you.

  • Is prospect research effective?

    A number of different studies have shown that prospects:

    • will support non-profits for longer if they are asked for appropriate donation amounts
    • want to receive appropriate communications and information that is tailored to their interests
    • want non-profits to understand their source of wealth in order to recognise the donor’s skills, expertise and experience

    All these things and more are enabled by prospect research. Researching your prospects ahead of approaching them will enable you to ask for an appropriate amount, tailor communications to fit their interests and wishes, and allow you to identify and understand their skills and experience.

    If you want to know more about how prospect research can help your non-profit organisation, read our page ‘What is prospect research?’.

  • What sources does Factary use in its research?

    Factary uses a number of paid-for and public access resources in the course of its research – too many to list in full here.

    Our key resources include:

    • Creditsafe
    • Companies House
    • Sunday Times Rich Lists (current and past print editions)
    • Charity Commission
    • Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
    • Funds Online
    • Factiva
    • Who’s Who Online
    • Debrett’s People of Today (printed editions)
    • Foundation Center Directory (US)

    In addition to this, we use make use of a number of resources which we ourselves provide to the sector. These include:

  • Can I see some samples of Factary’s profiles?

    We’re happy to offer pre-prepared sample profiles, so that you can see the level of detail provided and decide which type of profile would best fit your needs.

    Bear in mind that we are only able to provide examples of our standard profile offerings. We are happy to provide bespoke profiles to match your internal templates, but we can’t provide samples of these – we suggest that you look at our standard samples and then use these as a basis to discuss adjustments or additions with us.

    To request a set of sample profiles, please get in touch with us by email, by phone on 0117 916 6740 or by using Factary’s contact form.

  • Can Factary produce profiles that will match our own internal templates?

    Yes, we’re completely happy to do that.

    As said in answer to the previous question, we suggest that you have a look at our sample profiles and then request adjustments accordingly to match your template.

    Alternatively, you can simply send us a copy of your template while we’re discussing your project, and we’ll talk over how we can best match it.

    To talk over your needs, please get in touch with us by email, by phone on 0117 916 6740 or by using Factary’s contact form.

  • Does Factary perform international research, or only research within the UK?

    We regularly perform research outside the UK, in areas all over the world.

    In recent years we have performed work which has involved research into individuals and organisations based in Europe, the Americas (including the US and Canada), Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

    Most of our resources are geared towards the UK non-profit sector, however our expertise and experience enables us to perform effective research in most territories worldwide.


Factary’s Data & Screening Service

  • Does Factary maintain an internal database?

    In the past Factary maintained an internal database of wealthy, influential and philanthropic UK-based individuals. This database was composed using information entirely from the public domain, and maintained by Factary’s team of researchers.

    However, in 2017 Factary took the decision to drop its internal database and remove all its information from our servers. We no longer maintain such a database, and don’t intend to do so in the future.

    We do maintain a database of statistical information of geographical wealth indicators in the UK. This database, which is the basis of our current database screening service, contains no personal information, or information that would allow the personal identification of any individuals.

  • How does Factary’s current database screening service differ from its former approach?

    Factary’s previous approach involved the matching of individuals through the matching of names and addresses held on non-profit client databases with those on Factary’s internal database. Until recent years this approach was a sector standard, the main difference being that Factary’s database was built through hands-on research rather than machine research.

    Our new approach involves a complete change – rather than matching individuals using personal information, we identify geographical areas of potentially high support by screening client-held postcodes against a variety of wealth indicators, including per-area property value, education levels, length of tenancy, and more.

  • How does a Factary screening work?

    Our new Screening service is bespoke; we can tailor it to your needs and based on the data you can provide. We make use of a custom-designed combination of scores and data points to prioritise your entire database, identifying potential major donors from your wider pool of supporters.

  • What will a Factary database screening tell me?

    A Factary Screening will prioritise your entire database, identifying through a combination of metrics which of your existing supporters may make the best potential major donors to your organisation.

    After the initial screening, you will receive a set of results, allowing you to select which individuals on your database you would like to be reported on.

  • Is screening legal?

    Yes, the short answer is that screening is legal.

    Under GDPR, database screening should not be done without the data controller giving individuals held on a database an explicit, detailed explanation of how it intends to use their data (and either asking for consent to do this, or giving supporters/donors the option to opt out of this processing, depending on which ‘Condition for Processing‘ is decided upon). This is the case even if the data comes from publicly available sources.

    To learn more about this topic, we suggest having a look at our article ‘Prospect Research and Legitimate Interests‘.

  • Is Factary’s screening process GDPR-compliant?

    Yes, our new screening process is entirely GDPR-compliant. We have designed it with this aim in mind, as well as to decrease the risk to our clients, and to make the process generally more efficient and effective.

    Note that we insist that clients adhere to GDPR-compliant policies and all relevant data protection guidelines before they can undertake a Screening with Factary. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about this, or to take our Screening process over in general.

  • What is the source of the information in Factary’s screening database?

    All of our information comes from the public domain, including such sources as the Office of National Statistics, the Land Registry, and others. None of the information we hold on our screening database relates to any actual individuals.

    If you have a concern about theintern information on our database and wish to discuss it with us, please feel free to give us a call on 0117 916 6740, or write us an email.

  • How can we send our data to Factary for a database screening?

    We maintain a secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server, based in the UK. We find that this is the most proven method of ensuring data security during transfer.

    Please don’t email or post your data. If you need to share files with us, we will set up a unique account on our server and send you the details so that you can upload it.

  • How will we receive our results?

    As with sending us your files, wherever files we send to clients contain sensitive data we make use of our secure, UK-based FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server. This ensures the security of the files we send, and minimises the chance that they will be intercepted or accessed by anyone other than the intended recipient.


Security & Confidentiality

  • How does Factary ensure the security of its data transfers?

    When transferring data or files, we always make use of secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers, which are based in the UK. Each of our clients gets a unique account on this server, so there’s no danger of clients gaining access to one another’s data. We also share all our research via the same method, to minimise as far as possible the chance that our research will reach anyone other than the organisation that commissioned it. We ensure that data remains on the FTP server only for as long as is necessary for the transfer to take place.

  • How does Factary store client data safely and securely?

    We understand how important client data is to your organisation. We go to great measures to ensure data remains safe and secure while in our hands.

    During processing, your data would be stored securely on our main internal office server. This server, and the data it holds, can only be accessed by authorised members of the Factary team.

    Our internal (like our transfer servers) use encrypted drives for storage. All client data is protected by firewalls and antivirus software, both of which are kept absolutely up to date to ensure maximum security.

    Finally, all client supplied data is destroyed after use. Our deletion process completely removes all traces of data from Factary’s encrypted drives.

    If you would like to know more about our data procedures or have any specific data security question, then please contact our Data Systems Consultant.


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