The handbook is particularly targeted at civil society organisations, or the parts of them, whose activities involve gathering evidence, doing research, learning lessons or advising on strategy for social, environmental and economic development in the North and South. We could call them evidence-based development civil society organisations, but refer to them as think tanks as a shorthand.
This group might include organisations more used to interest-group campaigning and advocacy (e.g. for the rights of landless labourers), but who have a rich source of knowledge on the issue that they wish to communicate to policy in a constructive and co-operative influencing style – in contrast to more confrontational strategies. The group might equally include research institutes and university departments who have a large body of research but have difficulty packaging it for policy-makers. All these organisations have important insight yet many of them are not experienced in policy influencing skills, and do not have access to tools, resources or training materials to help them reach this goal.