Our second and third briefs on data-informed grantmaking are now available!

This week, we’re sharing the second and third issue briefs in our series on data and evidence-based grantmaking, co-created with Philanthropic Foundations Canada.  Our first briefing document provided an overview of the challenges funders face in accessing the data they need for evidence-based decisions, and highlighted need for shared data infrastructure between funders. In these follow-up briefs, we dive deeper into the specifics of how funders can use data to inform their decisions in each stage of grantmaking.

Our second brief, Understanding the Philanthropic Landscape, focuses on the how funders can use awarded grants data to inform their future investments. Data on how grants are being distributed in the sector can answer questions such as: What causes and organizations are already being funded—and by whom? Which initiatives are new, and where are there gaps? Are there specific regions, demographics, or causes that are being underfunded? The brief draws on existing uses in Canada, outlines current barriers to accessing these data, and highlights two case studies of how funders are working together to leverage this data in the USA and the UK.


Our third and final brief, Measuring Outcomes, explores the various ways in which funders can leverage shared data infrastructure to understand the impact of their grantmaking. Outcomes data can help funders understand: What kind of impact did a grantee intervention have? What are the outcomes for beneficiaries who participated in funded programs—one, five, and ten years down the line? What types of social interventions work, and why are they effective? Are the needs of beneficiaries being met? This final document discusses some of the challenges nonprofits face in collecting indices for impact, and reviews potential shared infrastructure solutions for accessing data on beneficiary outcomes and feedback. In particular, the brief highlights the potential in accessing government administrative data on outcomes; and the utility of semi-standardized survey instruments for benchmarking between organizations. 

PFC is a member association of Canadian grantmaking foundations, charitable organizations and corporate giving programs. The association focuses on public policy, thought leadership, and creating opportunities for its members to learn from one another. You can download these briefs and other resources from PFC on their publications webpage.

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Lorraine Chuen