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GivingTuesday Launches $26 Million Data Capital Campaign

A five-year, $26 million capital campaign has been launched for GivingTuesday Data Commons, an arm of the international philanthropy GivingTuesday, to scale a comprehensive data ecosystem of organizational and community-based giving.

The plan is to expand the infrastructure and partnerships needed to build the largest collection of comprehensive, up-to-date datasets of giving behaviors around the world. The blueprint is for a connected, collaborative network of practitioners, and accessible and extensible tools that promote better decision-making, according to organizational leaders.

Fundraisers, sector decision-makers and researcher have long argued that sector data is not only incomplete, but also siloed, opaque, closely guarded, and outdated. These shortcomings hamper research and limit innovation at a time when creative new solutions are needed.

Major donors have the campaign at 40% of goal. Those donors include Google.org, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fidelity Charitable Trustees Initiative, the Belfer Family, Heinz Family Foundation, National Philanthropic Trust, Paypal, and Schwab Charitable.  Last year, #GivingTuesday also received an unrestricted $7 million grant from MacKenzie Scott and husband Dan Jewett, which laid the groundwork for the capital campaign.

“The expansion will provide a learning environment for the social sector to improve resilience, agility and impact that will ultimately help it be more resilient. There now is a fundamental infrastructure gap in the social sector and we can solve that so that we don’t have lag in terms of good data,” said Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer of #GivingTuesday.

According to information in the capital campaign prospectus, the social sector lacks what the commercial sector has long used — tools and infrastructure that drive data-driven solutions and innovation. Data in the social sector has been plagued by systemic problems that include incomplete data, siloed and opaque data and insights, data that is stale and insights that are not actionable.

The capital campaign will fund such ongoing or upcoming systems, tools and resources as:

  • The Data Commons platform, the technical infrastructure that enables research collaboration and data access;
  • GivingLab, the searchable repository of insights on giving behavior and impact;
  • Knowledgebase and API, the database of insights, assets and reports generated by Data Commons and its collaborators;
  • A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Social Justice Research Hub;
  • Collaborative Workspaces and Research Pipeline. The technical infrastructure is extensible in order to support collaborative research for the entire global social sector.
  • A new Citizen Action Research Hub that will measure and understand the ways individual commit their time to build and strengthen communities.

“GivingTuesday envisions a world where giving in all forms is a foundational part of everyday life – a world where generosity, support and connection exist at every level in neighborhoods, communities and countries around the world,” GivingTuesday Chief Executive Officer Asha Curran said via a statement.

Agus Galmarini, program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said of the campaign: “Thanks to the Data Commons, we are getting real-time insights on donor behavior that have the potential to transform philanthropy and drive much-needed resources to organizations on the front lines of the world’s biggest challenges.”

“The key thing for nonprofits is that they need timely, high-fidelity data about the entire giving ecosystem in order to not just be responsive but be proactive in what is increasingly a volatile environment,” Rosenbaum said.

GivingTuesday Data Commons has more than 300 organizational collaborators and 50 global data chapters. Organizers call it the largest philanthropic data collaboration built to date. It was spawned from GivingTuesday, launched in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and incubated in its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact. What started as a simple idea of a day that encourages people to do good has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

The movement is a distributed network of entrepreneurial leaders who lead national movements in more than 80 countries and hundreds of community movements worldwide, including more than 260 community campaigns across the U.S, that has raised billions of dollars.