The Institute of Fundraising is to create a special interest group to promote good practice in data analysis within the profession.
The Analysis in Fundraising Special Interest Group will hold its first meeting in London on 27 April. It will meet every three months to discuss how to make the most of raw data about donors and giving. It has been set up in response to what the institute says is a long-term lack of education and understanding about these skills, and to disseminate current pockets of good practice in data analysis.
"Cutting-edge data analysis is being undertaken within the sector," said Lindsay Boswell, the institute's chief executive.
The institute believes that although analysis of donor behaviour is crucial to fundraising, there are obstacles - for example, there is no industry-wide facility for analysts and practitioners to meet, and the industry offers no formal training in data analysis. It hopes the new group will be the catalyst for change.
"With the Government's new centre of excellence on fundraising research to be launched, there is a bigger emphasis on research and analysis in the fundraising sector than before," said John Sauve-Rodd, director of fundraising consultancy Datapreneurs and chair of the new group. "This is the time to preach about how data analysis can deliver better returns on investment."