Star F*cking

One of my jobs is a task called “prospect research.” A friend of mine in the non-profit biz calls it “star f*cking.” It works like this:

  1. An individual is identified, by me or someone else, as someone who should be asked to make a major gift to the organization. What counts as “major” varies by the size of the organization in question, but generally we are talking about people with $bucks$.
  2. How many $bucks$ do they have and how much will they donate? Those are the questions I am supposed to answer.
  3. I use database tools that give me access to all sorts of information as well as creative application of google technology.
  4. I find out where they live, how much they paid for their house, to whom they have donated in the past and how much they gave, which political candidates or campaigns they have supported, where they work, how much they probably earn, what boards they serve on, what their interests are, their marriage and divorce history, the names and ages of their children, and all sorts of random facts about them.

By the time I’m done, I feel like I should have a cigarette. And I don’t even smoke. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it.

This is why I spill my guts on Facebook without worrying too much about my so-called privacy. There’s no such thing.

Now, I only use the white-hat research techniques. Everything I uncover is in the public realm. I have neither the skill nor the inclination to hack into someone’s bank accounts or swipe the nude pictures off of their iPhones. But even keeping it legal, I can find out an awful lot.

But don’t worry; your personal data is safe with me.

 

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4 thoughts on “Star F*cking

  1. hahaha…yeah, it’s funny, that’s not the kind of thing that worries me, in re: privacy. I mean, I get that there is no privacy, and I should probably be upset about that, but I use the internet for everything, all the time. Legal, illegal, whatevs. For me it’s a different kind of privacy. I don’t want the people in my real life, the walk-around-talk-to-me folks, to know my thoughts and feelings about things. I don’t want to share with the people I see every day what I’m doing when I’m at home with my family. It’s small town syndrome, for me. That’s why I like my blog to stay anonymous-ish. I don’t really care what marketers or the government can find out about me. But I don’t want to post photos of myself on vacation so my neighbor from three streets over can forward them to her bitchy poster-making friends. Just don’t need people in my daily beeswax.

  2. For some reason, facebook does not put any of your posts into my feed, so I guess your thoughts are safe from me!

    My husband is involved in some projects with a woman who is the widow of a multi-billionaire. People are constantly coming after her for money.

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