At The Philanthropic Initiative’s Center for Global Philanthropy, we seek to help our clients successfully navigate the global philanthropy landscape and to ensure their dollars are put to work in strategic and significant ways that align with their passion and values. We are always on the lookout for tools that enable donors to make better informed decisions about their philanthropy when used within a broader strategic giving plan. Today, new reports, studies, guides, and data collection projects are being released at lightning speed, and this rapid influx of information can be overwhelming, especially given that the prospect of international giving is already daunting to many donors. How can you track your money after you grant it? Is there a reliable way to measure impact abroad? Are there causes or geographical areas in need that fall under the philanthropic radar? How do you know who else from around the world is investing in the same causes you care about? These are just a few of the innumerable questions donors face when considering international giving.
Here we have outlined four especially relevant tools, with the hope of not only answering a few of those questions, but also of informing your broader giving strategy by incorporating strategic thinking and bold action. These are just a few recently released tools that can help individuals, foundations, and corporate donors evaluate their international giving strategy, and adjust their approach to make sure it is well-rounded, strategic, and most importantly, impactful.
1. MEASURING THE STATE OF DISASTER PHILANTHROPY: Analyzing and using data on disaster giving
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy in collaboration with Foundation Center, released Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy, which presents and analyzes data on disaster response giving by foundations, governments, corporations, and individuals. This interactive report reveals trends in funding and gaps in aid, with the goal of helping funders make more strategic decisions about how to respond to catastrophic events.
After devastating natural disasters, like the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2015 Nepal earthquake, there is often a rush among funders to aid reconstruction and recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. While this sense of urgency is crucial for effectively addressing what can be dire situations, once the dust has settled, it often becomes apparent which sectors have been neglected and which demographics are struggling to return to normalcy. By illuminating disparities in funding and relief efforts, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy allows donors of all types to help steer their giving in more targeted ways, hopefully resulting in sustained, deep impact.
This tool can also be used in conjunction with TPI’s disaster philanthropy services. At the Center for Global Philanthropy we assist donors with collaborative funding processes that successfully address long-term systemic efforts in areas affected by natural disasters and/or global health crises, for example, The Haiti Fund , a US-Nepal Fund, and the Beyond Ebola Fund at the Boston Foundation.
2. EQUAL FOOTING: Tracking and sharing data on philanthropy in Central Africa
Equal Footing, a new website from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the King Baudouin Foundation, and Foundation Center, helps donors track their philanthropic efforts in Central Africa. This region has long been a focus of philanthropy coming from the United States, with hundreds of millions of dollars funneled into the region to address issues like access to healthcare, education, women’s rights, economic development, and human rights, among many others.
This freely accessible web portal for information sharing and collaboration allows those who invest and work in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Burundi to see which areas are most in need and how to effectively balance the impact of their giving. Sortable by country, populations served, and funder strategy, Equal Footing gives donors a comprehensive, data-based overview of where their resources are needed.
3. BRIDGE: Measuring impact and promoting transparency
Foundation Center recently rolled out its new BRIDGE tool (Basic Registry of Identified Global Entities), which gives every philanthropic organization around the globe a unique identifier in order to "enhance transparency and effectiveness in the global social sector." One of the toughest challenges donors face when considering giving abroad is the question of measuring impact. How do you make sure your money is being used effectively, especially when there aren’t quantifiable achievement markers? It is a question that understandably keeps many donors from committing resources to addressing international issues.
The goal of the BRIDGE project is to promote the measurement of impact, and provide the social sector with a better picture of how organizations and individuals are using philanthropy to promote change both at home and abroad. With more information readily available, donors can better inform themselves on how to approach their international giving strategy in a holistic way.
4. SDG PHILANTHROPY PLATFORM: Helping philanthropy engage in the Global Development Agenda
In partnership with Foundation Center, the United Nations Development Programme’s SDG Philanthropy Platform gives funders the information they need to make sure their philanthropy is in tune with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through knowledge sharing and collaboration across sectors. This data-centric platform is a great resource for tracking impact and using data to evaluate different giving strategies.
Many donors seek to align their giving with a broader strategy, which gives them the opportunity to work together toward achieving a common goal and ensures their funding is part of an integrated approach. The SDG Philanthropy Platform enables such philanthropic collaboration through the UNDP’s SDGs, which set a clear agenda for global philanthropy for the next 15 years, outlining environmental, social, and economic development objectives that touch on the most pressing issues of our time.
TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy (CGP) supports individuals, families, foundations, and corporations to have an impact through their global giving. Global philanthropy supports solutions to complex challenges, and the CGP’s deep knowledge and global network bring simplicity and security to effective international giving. With a focus on support to local, grassroots organizations, we help philanthropists do more, and better, giving worldwide. For more information about consulting services provided by TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy, contact Maggi Alexander at malexander [at] tpi.org or 617.338.5893.