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

By Jacob Harold
July 16, 2020

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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