Spreading the charter’s wings

WINGS asked Tao Ze (Vice President at the China Foundation Center), Olga Evdokimova (Executive Director of Evolution & Philanthropy’s Moscow Branch) and Andre Degenszajn (Secretary-General of GIFE) to explain their motivations behind translating the Global Philanthropy Data Charter.

WINGS: How can the Data Charter help your work with data?

Tao Ze: On one hand, the Data Charter becomes a great tool for the China Foundation Center to explain why/what/how to disclose information. On the other hand, it is a global initiative, so the Chinese foundation leaders could see the cutting edge trends in terms of global governance of philanthropy, and then catch up.

Olga Evdokimova: Evolution & Philanthropy, whose mission is to assist the effective Russian NGO and charity development through dissemination of international experience and global knowledge exchange, is actively engaged in collecting data, as well as research and analysis of philanthropy in Russia.

We initiated the first comprehensive academic research on the development of philanthropy in Russia and support various data-gathering initiatives. There are many diverse data on philanthropy but demand for reliable, globally-comparable data is great.

Andre Degenszajn: In Brazil, as it happens in many countries in the Global South, there is great scarcity of philanthropic data. And when there is some data, it is often fragmented and difficult to compare. Official data on philanthropy is almost nonexistent, which encourages organizations to develop their own data gathering initiatives.

Within this context, increased collaboration under common standards and principles could greatly improve the effectiveness of data and its usefulness for society. It will certainly help in establishing guidelines for building a larger and more reliable picture of the Brazilian philanthropic sector.

WINGS: Why did you think it was important to translate it into your native language?

TZ: It is much easier to promote the Data Charter in Chinese in mainland China. It is not necessary for all foundation leaders to read English well.

OE: We hope that the translation of the Data Charter into Russian can help reach and engage more organizations in Russia.

AD: A Portuguese translation will enable us to reach a larger audience, and will increase understanding of its content—as some concepts need adaptation to our local context. In addition, it will increase the likelihood of public and private institutions acknowledging the existence and relevance of the Data Charter—and eventually adopting it. And for Brazilian organizations, having GIFE’s endorsement could also help in disseminating the Data Charter.

WINGS: How can data help advance philanthropy in your country?

TZ: Data is the infrastructure of the philanthropy sector in China. The comprehensive database helps forge a robust and healthy sector from various perspectives. For example, we use the data on how foundations participate in disaster relief to reallocate resources efficiently, and we use the data to demonstrate the impact of foundations’ board members who work in the government and influence the coming philanthropy law in China.

OE: Partnerships and networks are important parts of the philanthropy sector’s development. We hope the Data Charter will facilitate better collaboration and more strategic decision-making among different stakeholders in Russia—funders, NGOs, the government and companies. The Data Charter will advance philanthropy in Russia by strengthening the donor community, increasing the professional level of NGOs, increasing transparency and accountability, and raising visibility and public trust of Russian NGOs.

AD: The lack of comprehensive data is probably one of the main obstacles to advancing philanthropy in Brazil. It represents a challenge in projecting scenarios or analyzing trends and, most of all, diminishes our capacity to advocate for structural changes — as we have only a blurred picture of how the sector looks. From an organizational perspective, it will improve philanthropic institutions’ capacity to make better investment decisions.

To reach a wider global audience, the Global Philanthropy Data Charter is being translated into different languages. If you’re interested in translating the Data Charter, contact us.

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