WINGS & Foundation Center – Global philanthropy data: what do we know about the sector?

WINGS, in partnership with the Foundation Center, is undertaking a global data collection project on philanthropy through a new initiative called the WINGS Philanthropy Data Network. The first step is getting to know what kind of information associations of foundations currently have on their members.

Associations of foundations work daily to strengthen philanthropy all over the world, and part of that work involves knowing their constituency. Several organizations are therefore already engaged in an effort to collect information on their members. However, the information they collect is not comparable and WINGS, with its global membership and outreach, is uniquely positioned to engage in the necessary effort to collect standardized global data on philanthropy.

To advance this effort, WINGS has started collecting questionnaires used by associations of foundations to obtain information on their members, clients and constituencies in general. It is a unique chance for associations to be part of a global effort to standardize data collection, get to know what their peers are doing, and learn from each other’s efforts.

Questionnaires from different regions have already been collected by WINGS and analysed by the Foundation Center. This initial analysis demonstrates the importance of standardization: the questionnaires had only one question in common: ‘geographic area(s) served’. Questions about total grants, volunteers or services are included in only three of the questionnaires.

It is paramount that the information collected by the field can be compared and aggregated, improving the infrastructure for the sector, instead of becoming an end in itself. WINGS’ data collection project strives to fill this gap. Questionnaires are still being collected – make sure your work is considered by sending your organization’s questionnaires to

For more information
Email Ana Borges Pinho at

Read more in the conversation between Foundation Center president Bradford Smith and DAFNE chair Rosa Gallego.

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