Demographics via Candid: A data-driven approach to encourage equitable funding practices
In response to the simultaneous global pandemic and racial equity movement, philanthropy committed to act with urgency to better support nonprofit partners, as well as the people and communities hit hardest by the impacts of these dual events. Pledges were made to reduce barriers, shift power, and engage in more equitable funding practices.
However, without a comprehensive baseline of the diversity represented within organizations, philanthropy can’t make good on these promises. By better understanding the demographic profile of those organizations that are—and are not—receiving funding, we can more closely track if they are representative of the communities they serve and whether they are getting the support they need to deliver on their missions.
To understand the demographic makeup of nonprofit partners, individual funders often request this information on their own. While well-intentioned, this places a burden on nonprofits that are responding to multiple demographic requests, with different questions and formats, from various funders. These disorganized efforts take valuable staff time away from mission-critical work.
Introducing Demographics via Candid
Candid saw an opportunity to relieve this data-request burden while also providing a standardized benchmark measurement for the entire sector: enter Demographics via Candid. We rally behind the notion that nonprofits should only have to share their data one time (a principle we call Data1x), where it can be easily accessed and reused by others. With broad adoption, this practice will reduce inefficiencies, cut down on duplicate information requests, and give nonprofits time back to devote to their missions. The information gathered through Demographics via Candid will also contribute to a universal picture of the sector and how it is working to encourage more equitable funding practices.
Through Demographics via Candid, nonprofits are encouraged by partners to enter their demographic information—one time—in their Candid profile. From there, nonprofits that have earned a Candid Seal of Transparency will receive a unique link, which they can use to share their profile with their supporters. As an added benefit, nonprofits with budgets less than $1 million that earn a Gold Seal of Transparency are eligible to receive a complimentary, one-year subscription to Foundation Directory Essential, Candid’s funder prospecting tool. At the same time, our partners commit to retrieving and using the demographic data from Candid’s nonprofit profiles instead of asking for it separately.
Allie VanHeest, community investment officer at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, one of our initial partners, recently shared their reasoning for participating:
“To hold ourselves accountable to advancing racial, social, and economic justice, we need to be aware of patterns in our grantmaking. Only by gathering and analyzing demographic data about our funded partners can we assess and make progress towards racial equity. Demographic data will enable us to set benchmarks around the proportion of our dollars flowing to BIPOC-led and -serving organizations, and to hold ourselves accountable and make progress year over year.”
Candid is committed to making demographic data freely available through a complimentary flat file, public Tableau dashboard (launching in early 2023), or API, so that this information can easily be integrated into pre-existing workflows. We are also partnering with grants management system vendors to ensure smooth integrations are available.
Partnering to advance equitable funding practices
We are witnessing positive momentum since we embarked on this initiative last summer. We are grateful to the early adopters of this initiative, which represent a wide array of stakeholders across the social sector and include individual foundations, philanthropic-serving organizations, nonprofit associations and parent organizations, and grant management systems.* We welcome a broad representation of participants, including coalitions comprised of any of the above focused on a particular geography or issue area.
We look forward to expanding our network of partners working together to lessen the administrative burden on nonprofits and get back to the business of doing good. Together, we can move toward becoming a more effective, efficient, and equitable social sector.
Learn more about Demographics via Candid and how you can participate by registering for the official, online public launch event, Demographics via Candid: Join the movement, on February 14 at 2 p.m. ET.
*To view a full list of Demographics via Candid partners, please visit candid.org/dvc.