Demand for reliable, globally-comparable data on philanthropy has never been greater. Different actors in the philanthropic field have approached WINGS in search of information—from academic and professional researchers to governmental bodies; from associations keen to provide better and tailored services to their members to funders looking into data as a way to maximise their impact. Accurate and accessible information would allow the sector to set priorities, allocate resources, assess needs and identify trends.
Nevertheless, it remains very difficult to collect and aggregate data from regions with diverse definitions, regulations, and policies regarding institutional philanthropy. Different data collection initiatives can help us better understand the field, but work in isolation can lead to duplication and may inadvertently hinder the process as a whole in the future.
The Global Consultation on Philanthropy Data was the first in a series of meetings that will engage stakeholders in a discussion about the key principles and a common vision for data collection on philanthropy across the globe. The aim is for the creation and support of a Global Charter on Data in Philanthropy.
The invitation-only meeting, hosted by WINGS in collaboration with the Foundation Center, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 27 February to 1 March, and brought together 24 individuals from every region of the world who share an interest in or a responsibility for the collection and analysis of data on philanthropy. These individuals represented foundations, associations and support organisations serving philanthropy, and a research group.
During the meeting, the group worked through a series of facilitated activities that enabled an exploration of important issues, consideration of current problems in data collection and use, and that ultimately led to the crafting of a first draft of a possible Charter. The group then proposed ways to reach out and involve other interested parties.
This marked the first in a series of meetings (teleconferences and face-to-face) to build on the work in Rio de Janeiro and engage a broader range of global stakeholders in this conversation. The final Charter will be presented for ratification at the WINGSForum 2014, currently planned for Istanbul, Turkey. Download Rio meeting participants list here.