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What is the Data Charter?
The Global Philanthropy Data Charter is intended as a framework to guide organizations in the sector as they set out to improve philanthropy data, acknowledging the diversity of context, culture, and legal framework within which these organizations operate. It proposes both a code of good practice to improve the working relationships of those involved in philanthropy data—users, providers and collectors—as well as a framework for engaging other sectors (governments, corporations, academia and civil society in general) around sharing and using philanthropy data for public benefit.
The Data Charter will help provide a better picture of global philanthropy and develop a standard of principles that help the sector take full advantage of new opportunities. The Data Charter will both improve cooperation among stakeholders of existing data initiatives and encourage new initiatives; as well as foster efficiency in data collection and sharing. Benefits include better decision-making processes and greater visibility of the sector’s contributions to society.Charter supporters are encouraged to add the Data Charter seal to their websites, reports and other materials to demonstrate their commitment and observance of its values and principles.
Demand for reliable, globally comparable data on philanthropy has never been greater. A multitude of factors including advances in technology, a growing interest in data gathering and use, public demand for transparency, and a push for a more strategic approach to giving have provided a unique opportunity for the philanthropic sector to organize itself and the way it deals with data.
Various actors in the philanthropic field have approached WINGS for information—from academic and professional researchers to governmental bodies, from associations keen on providing better and tailored services to their members, to funders looking at data as a way to maximize their impact. Accurate, accessible data will allow the sector to assess needs, identify trends, set priorities and allocate resources.
To address this WINGS conducted, jointly with the Foundation Center, a series of consultations with international actors from the field to generate critical thinking on the magnitude and nature of the challenges of the philanthropy data landscape; to explore the ways in which data efforts could be improved; and to work towards a common vision and principles for global data on philanthropy. To that end, these consultations have produced the Global Philanthropy Data Charter. To reach a wider global audience the first edition of the Data Charter was translated into different languages, you can check this here.
The New Charter
The process of revising the Charter took two years and was anchored in meetings of core stakeholders in both Cape Town and Amman, attended by 40+ practitioners from 20+ countries. This input, alongside learning from in-country data strategy and capacity building work led by Foundation Center, was developed into what is now the updated Charter.
The Charter is already being implemented to guide deepened data work in countries such as South Africa, Pakistan, Kenya, and Jordan. In Kenya, the Charter has been used to help foundations collectively develop principles and values that underpin a local philanthropy data strategy. It will also guide the work of the newly-established data and technology WINGS affinity group, which interested organizations can learn more about here.