There’s no denying it. The way we work has fundamentally changed. Our cloud-based, bring-your-own-device, collaborative workspaces – virtual and brick-and-mortar – bear very little resemblance to the foundations of even a decade ago. The technology that makes all this possible is also generating new ways for grantmakers to do their work — specifically, the ability to access and leverage data like never before.
To make the most out of this new work environment, foundations are opting into a culture of data-sharing and transparency.
Openness and transparency allow foundations to share data in three important ways:
First: Foundations can use new technologies to enable better collaboration and sharing within the foundation across programs and departments.
Effectively sharing one’s own stories within the foundation is incredibly powerful. Of course, some degree of curation of one’s data sets for the purpose of effective sharing is important, as is knowing which data should be shared among teams, with executives, and with the board.
The way each organization chooses to slice and dice information and the depth to which each department wants to view the data will vary. To find the best approach, internal teams must collaborate.
Second: Foundations can utilize an incoming torrent of publicly available data to inform their grantmaking.
These days, there is an abundance of data in the sector and much of that torrent can be accessed freely. Innovations over the past few years have made it possible to learn from this data and think more strategically about funding decisions.
Foundations using a cloud-based grants management system with open APIs can easily access and extract the full value of operational and strategic data, including incoming data from public sources that have embraced open APIs such as the IRS, the Foundation Center, GuideStar, and others. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of the power of open data.
Third: Foundations can easily share data across the entire sector, creating opportunities for collaboration and more informed decision-making.
Transparency and effective data-sharing across the sector allows grantmakers to learn what works and what doesn’t. Armed with this data, foundations can deploy the right resources at the right time and greatly accelerate progress toward making change.
Even if you don’t collaborate directly with another foundation, you’ll be able to identify funding needs that other grantmakers may have overlooked or where there may be duplicative projects aimed toward the same long-term goal.
But technology alone can’t make the kind of impact you’re looking for. Technology is essentially a set of tools that needs human creativity, critical thinking, and passion to succeed. So the question remains: How can my foundation create a culture of sharing and transparency to bring the passion to technology?
We’ve done a lot of thinking about that and compiled what we found here, in our complete guide, Foundations: How to Tap Into the Power of Data Transparency. Download it now to learn more about the power of data and how to create an organizational culture that nurtures a passion for technology and data sharing.