Philanthropic transparency is a catalyst for social change. Foundations with greater transparency can increase their impact on specific issues and strengthen the field of philanthropy as a whole. Transparency offers many benefits to funders, including: strengthening credibility; increasing public trust; improving grantee relationships; reducing duplication of effort; facilitating greater collaboration; and building a community of shared learning. Because transparency is so critical to improving philanthropy, Candid has a number of tools designed to help funders achieve greater levels of transparency in a variety of contexts, including improving overall institutional transparency, collective sector data, grants data, and overall sector knowledge.

Improving Foundation Transparency

Candid’s GlassPockets tools help foundation benchmark, improve, and communicate their transparency goals and efforts. The initiative provides the opportunity for foundations to share information about their operations, governance, giving, and impact and to earn transparency levels based on the openness of what they currently share via the foundation’s website

To increase your transparency practices, review the 27 transparency indicators that GlassPockets uses. Make the case inside your foundation for greater transparency and join the movement to get GlassPockets.

Philanthropic transparency has multiple dimensions, so in addition to assessing the openness of your foundation’s website via GlassPockets, another way to increase your transparency is to claim and complete your GuideStar profile.

Improving Transparency of Overall Social Sector Data

GuideStar is a philanthropic research tool designed to fill in the knowledge gaps you need to discover and learn more about the social sector as a whole. GuideStar compiles directories and reports on charitable organizations that are available to the public, to provide greater transparency for the field as a whole.

GuideStar gives all nonprofits, including foundations, a comprehensive platform to share information about their organization’s mission, charitable activities, finances, demographic information, impact data, and more. This kind of transparency allows everyone to have access to key data to improve peer intelligence, benchmarking, and what is known about the collective activities of the social sector.

Foundations can claim and complete their GuideStar profile to earn Seals of Transparency by contributing data about their programs, financials, strategies, demographics, and impact measurement.  Learn more about completing your GuideStar profile.

Improving Grants Data Transparency

No one knows your grantmaking better than you do so it’s important that you be the one to tell it. Tell your foundation’s grantmaking story directly. Sharing complete information about your current grantmaking with Candid helps advance understanding of philanthropy’s contributions to the greater good and builds sector intelligence that can benefit us all.

To make sharing your grants data with us as easy as possible, Candid partners with most grants management software applications so you can directly export pre-formatted reports.

By sharing your grants data once, you are helping power several tools and resources that serve the social sector. These include Foundation Directory Online (FDO), Foundation Maps, issue- or location-specific “Foundation Landscapes,” reports, online dashboards of philanthropic giving in a region, and more.  More than 4 million queries are conducted annually on these tools, so don’t forget to make sure your data is up kept up to date so prospective grantees, academics, and the general public have a current view of your work.

In short, the benefit of sharing your data with us is that you only need to share it in one place, and we automatically update it in any Candid tool that contains information about your work. You can learn more about sharing your grants data from the FAQs on this page.

Improving Transparency of Social Sector Knowledge

Candid’s IssueLab service, which is an open archive of social sector publications, currently contains more than 30,000 publications from a variety of social sector organizations, including foundations, nonprofit organizations, and academic research centers. IssueLab serves as a collective brain for the field, allowing funders and practitioners to easily learn from what their colleagues already know. You can search the entire library of knowledge at IssueLab at www.issuelab.org. Sharing knowledge avoids duplication of effort and allows the field to grow collectively smarter. But this can only work to its fullest potential if each of our organizations shares knowledge in a centrally accessible repository, such as IssueLab.  Register to start sharing your publications via IssueLab so that they are easily discoverable by others across the field.

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