The following was originally published on the Markets for Good website on 15 September 2014. The original article can be found here.
By Ana Pinho
Demand for reliable, globally comparable data on philanthropy has never been greater – recent initiatives such as Markets for Good, focusing on information for social impact, attest the importance of data to drive efficiency and innovation. Here at WINGS, we are an independent not-for-profit global network that brings together 90 support organizations serving philanthropy in 35 countries. Furthermore, our members represent 15,000 Foundations, mobilizing $83.6M around the world. As such, various actors in the philanthropic field have approached WINGS for information, from researchers and governmental bodies, to associations keen on providing better services to their members and funders looking at data as a way to maximize their impact.
The Global Philanthropy Data Charter is the result of a collective effort, conducted by WINGS, jointly with the Foundation Center, bringing together stakeholders from all regions to work towards a common vision for global data on philanthropy. It is a framework to guide organizations in the sector as they set out to improve philanthropy data, providing a code of good practice to improve the working relationships of those involved in philanthropy data, and also for engaging other sectors around sharing and using philanthropy data for public benefit.
The aim of the Data Charter is to improve cooperation among stakeholders of existing data initiatives and encourage new initiatives, as well as foster efficiency in data collection and sharing. Key benefits include better decision-making processes and greater visibility of the sector’s contributions to society. The Data Charter was first launched at WINGS Forum 2014 in Istanbul and its new website reflects the philanthropy sector’s commitment to using accurate and accessible information to set priorities, allocate resources, assess needs and identify trends. The website includes:
- a map of initiatives using the Data Charter to guide their work;
- the Data Charter’s uses and benefits;
- current endorsers and instructions on how to join; and
- a special seal that endorsers can use to demonstrate their commitment to good data for greater impact.
Some initiatives already using the Data Charter to guide their partnerships and data collection efforts include the Community Foundations Atlas, the Post-2015 Partnership Platform for Philanthropy and the Spanish Association of Foundations’ report on the foundation sector in Spain. To increase the Data Charter’s global reach, and to engage local actors and further develop information infrastructure and partnerships, the document is being translated into several languages, the first being Chinese, Russian and Portuguese.
Organizations can join our effort to improve data in philanthropy by endorsing the Data Charter and committing to honoring and promoting all values and principles embodied in the document with respect to their data-related work.