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Long-term planning in a time of flux and struggle: sharing Candid’s 2030 vision

Smiling Black woman looking toward Candid's vision statement

This is a moment of immediacy. The entire globe is battling a pandemic. The streets of American cities are brought alive by righteous anger at racial injustice. Urgency eclipses long-term thinking, as it should.

That sense of urgency is central to the work of the social sector. People and organizations are driven by a belief that actions in the moment matter. They are right. They also know that impact takes time. The cycles of social change operate over the course of decades.

How should an organization address the challenge of long-term thinking? First: listen. In 2019, Candid asked thousands of our stakeholders what role we should play in supporting their work over the next decade. We took that input and our own experience to build out a 10-year vision we call Candid 2030.

We finished a draft in the early weeks of 2020. Now it feels like a different world. But it is not. The challenges we face today are not new; they are just harder to ignore.

We have, of course, gone back to our text to see what needed to change in light of the flux around us. We updated and refreshed it. But the heart of our strategy remains. The underlying challenges facing our society are still with us. The opportunities for change are still with us. The need for a strong social sector to drive change is still with us. And the social sector needs information to power it.

So, today, we are releasing Candid 2030, a 17-page summary of our vision, role, and strategy for the next decade.

We acknowledge the moment. And we proudly say that the challenges in front of us demand long-term thinking just as they demand action in the moment. There are sure to be times in the next 10 years when we will—proudly—change these plans to meet the demands of an uncertain future.

If you are part of or concerned about the social sector and its work, we hope you will read this document. Candid exists to support and improve the social sector. We are blessed with scale and resources: more than 20 million people use our tools every year; with that scale comes a profound responsibility.

Right now, the social sector faces enormous challenges. Our funding system is inefficient and arbitrary. We don’t learn from each other. We don’t have a uniform way to gather and share information about organizations or issues. Relationships within the sector are too often defined by inequality. If the social sector is not careful, it could lose the public’s trust and fail at its calling to make a better world.

We believe the social sector needs a comprehensive global data system, one that supports excellence throughout the social sector. And we believe Candid is positioned to build that system. To be clear, we do not see Candid as having direct impact on the communities and ecosystems that the social sector seeks to serve. Candid can only have impact through the social sector. We help the helpers.

Below you’ll find a summary of our strategy. We invite you to read the entire document. And, more, we invite you to provide your feedback. Our vision is set, but we need input as we seek to turn this vision into action. To provide your feedback, please complete the feedback form at the bottom of our 2030 vision page. I promise, we will listen. And we will act: now and for years to come.

Candid’s vision, role, and strategy in a nutshell

Mission: Candid gets you the information you need to do good.

Vision: We envision a social sector capable of tackling the critical challenges and opportunities of our time.

Role: Candid’s role is to ensure the flow of information in and about the social sector.

Goal: By 2030, Candid will provide a comprehensive global data system that supports excellence throughout the social sector.

Strategy: Candid will collect, organize, analyze, and distribute information about the work of the social sector.

Over the next decade, Candid will focus on five strategies:

  1. Real Time: build a real-time global data collection system.
    • By 2023, we will draw grant, nonprofit, and issue data from 50 government data sets (annually) and 1 million news articles and websites (daily).
  1. Common Profile: establish common organizational profile(s).
    • By 2026, 300 platforms will have integrated our data into their systems.
    • By 2030, 500,000 social sector organizations will be updating their profiles annually.
  1. Real Places: create place-based networks for on-site access and data collection.
    • By 2026, partners in 20 countries will have implemented Candid’s free data collection platform.
    • By 2030, 650 organizations around the world will offer free, on-site access to our information, tools, and training.
  1. Full View: weave our data sets together.
    • By 2024, our tools will fully cross-reference information across six categories: (1) social issues, (2) social interventions, (3) organizations, (4) grants, (5) news, and (6) practice.
  1. Full Story: explain the social sector.
    • By 2022, we launch a campaign to increase understanding of the social sector with (1) a set of tools and visual collateral, (2) a decade-long formal research agenda to describe and analyze the social sector, and (3) a comprehensive set of best practices on social sector practice.

We believe these strategies will help build an efficient, equitable, and effective social sector—one capable of tackling the opportunities and challenges of our time. Join us.


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  • Jacob Harold says:

    July 20, 2020 10:04 am

    Tenaja makes an important point here. Any attempt to "explain the sector" must include the organizations that serve as scaffolding for the field: associations, affinity groups, advisors, advocates, and more. That scaffolding helps give shape to the shared purpose and story of the field...even as also works to support the efforts of individual people and organizations. The way I see it, Candid doesn't have any choice but to work in partnership with these organizations. For one thing, that's how we learn what is needed in the field.

    We do, though, have quite a communications challenge! Many people find the social sector hard to understand -- talking about the infrastructure of that sector adds another level of abstraction. But it is a challenge we have to take on!

  • Roxie Jerde says:

    July 18, 2020 5:47 pm

    Jacob - Your thoughtful and visionary approach shines. Candid can do it with your leadership and goals.

  • Tenaja Jordan says:

    July 16, 2020 6:52 pm

    It has been exciting to witness the joining of these two influential entities in order to form Candid, and more exciting to see Candid internalize the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as begin to tackle issues of equitable access to its data, products, and services. While I am sure more formal feedback is forthcoming, I just wanted to personally offer than in seeking to "explain the social sector", I hope that Candid recognizes this goal as an opportunity to share the spotlight with other infrastructure organizations and affinity groups that also work tirelessly to explain the work and aspirations that make up the social sector and the communities within the sector that they represent. As you all well know, many of our communities try valiantly to communicate their work and impact but often lack resources to expand the reach of these communications efforts. I would love to see Candid support these efforts by using its profile, prominence, and affinity with brokering partnerships to better help the sector explain itself.