Content Selection and Nonprofit Vetting

Our editorial mission is to help donors see the intersections between complex social issues and advocate for and fund solutions accordingly. Giving Compass’ curated and original content aims to educate donors on addressing the root causes of inequitable systems, elevate nonprofit stories, and generate long-term funding in social impact.

We welcome all content for consideration as long as it does not promote hate or discrimination. We prioritize voices that have historically been left out of the conversation (BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities).

Our content curation, original resources, and nonprofit/fund selections are guided by Impact-Driven Philanthropy (IDP) practices and principles.

IDP priorities

Editorial Content Selection

Curated Content

Content is sourced by reputable publishers, influencers, experts, and vetted nonprofits. Giving Compass follows fair curation standards (less than 1/3 of original piece is published, link to original source, and adds value).

Each piece is vetted by Giving Compass’ content team, using a range of criteria including:

  • Is it aligned with the core principles of Impact-Driven Philanthropy?
  • Does it outline an ongoing issue and provides solution?
  • Does it addresses a major/trending story with an exploration of the overall issue or ways to help/donate?
  • Is it inclusive and accessible?
  • Is it data-driven (when necessary)?
View all articles

Original Submissions

Giving Compass publishes original content in various forms:

  • Nonprofit profilesthat elevate voices that have historically been unheard.
  • Donor stories and content from donor-serving organizations to help connect donors to peers, learning opportunities, and resources.
  • Topic guides that are rigorously researched and help donors gain a deeper understanding of various causes and the root causes of inequitable outcomes.
  • Special coverage pages that include articles, nonprofits, and funds addressing an urgent or topical issue.
Original content follows these published editorial guidelines.

Content Partners

Content collections feature curated and original content from IDP values-aligned organizations and often focus on pressing issues such as climate action, racial equity, and democracy.

View Partner Collections

Events and Volunteering Aggregation

Event Listings

We aggregate this data using the same principles described in the Curated Content section.

View Events

Volunteering Opportunities

We aggregate U.S.-based volunteering opportunities and match them in real time with the topic explored by our users. This data comes from our partnership with Volunteermatch.org

View Volunteering

Nonprofit and Issue Fund Vetting

Organizations (Nonprofits)

We source nonprofits through partnerships with grantmakers (“sponsors”) who meet at least three of the five criteria listed below. We then pull their publicly available grants data to aggregate in our dataset.

  • Focus explicitly on equity, effectiveness, systems change and transparency. Explicitly address racial disparities in their giving strategy.
  • Use a participatory grantmaking process and share the process transparently to the public
  • Are BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ – led
  • Detail components of systems change strategies in their materials (advocacy, organizing, policy change, voter engagement, public-private partnerships, sustained legislative accountability to communities)
  • Center those who have been historically least-well served in their giving strategies (funding those furthest from opportunity first)

Sponsors – (c)(3) organizations: A donor, family or community foundation, or philanthropic intermediary that provides grants to nonprofit organizations.

Sponsors – (c)(4) organizations: A nonprofit organization or philanthropic intermediary that

  • provides grants to nonprofit organizations, and/or
  • partners with and advocates for organizations working on related issues

We also source nonprofits via:

We review the following information about an organization:

  • Financial stability of fund or sponsoring entity
  • Whether a nonprofit is open to individual contributions

Organizations must have at least three of the five competencies publicly available:

  • Tracking & Reporting: How the fund or nonprofit reports back to its donors with examples of reporting on website
  • Clear Outcomes & Goals: Strategic plan, annual report, or other reporting mechanisms available
  • Evaluation & Evidence: Explanation of if and how grantees are evaluated. Organization uses evidence from evaluation to inform its grant-making practices.
  • Grantee Selection Process: Clear grantee selection criteria and how outcomes are shared
  • Decision-making: Clear information on who makes decisions and how the decision-makers are informed
View Social Justice Nonprofits

Giving Funds (Issue Funds)

We set out to build a data set of issue funds that:

  • Represents the full breadth and depth of work happening in the sector from grassroots organizing for systems change, to efforts to scale proven models
  • Addresses the issues donors care most about: Education, Environment + Animals, Arts, Human Services, and Health
  • Can appeal to people across the political spectrum (every donor could find something that aligns with their interests)
  • Offers geographic diversity

To develop a starting list, we drew upon other’s research, in particular intermediaries that had been identified in the Philanthropist Resource Directory (Stanford PACS) and through the Bridgespan Group’s Four Pathways to Greater Giving report. We also polled our networks of current partners, leading nonprofit organizations, funders, and philanthropic consultants to listen and learn about other funds that are making an impact in a variety of fields and that are transparent about their efforts. Finally, we did some research online to flesh out the list.

Conducting Diligence With a long list of potential funds, we moved into the diligence phase, assessing information that was publicly available on the internet.

We first gauge if funds meet all of the following required criteria:

  • Fund or sponsoring entity is financially sound, assessed by reviewing the most recently available 990 reports. Standard reports include two years of financials; if there appeared to be a noticeable trend over those two years, we sought out additional past 990s.
  • Fund is open to new donors and welcomes contributions from individuals
  • Fund does not have any apparent negative track record, assessed by brief internet searches for concerning news reports as well as a review of current funders, partners, and board members.

We then assessed if funds were transparent about specific components of their work. We included in our dataset funds that shared information publicly about at least three of the following:

  • Tracking and reporting – can we learn from public sources how the fund reports back to its donors, and/or is there an example on the fund website of this reporting?
  • Clear outcomes and goals – is there information available about the goals of the fund or its grantmaking? For example, has the fund developed and shared a strategic plan?
  • Evaluation and evidence – does the fund share if and how it evaluates its grantees and uses the evidence from evaluation to inform its grant-making practices?>
  • Grantee selection process – is there information available about and clarity on the criteria used to select grantees, the process involved, and outcomes shared?
  • Who makes decisions – does the fund share who makes decisions and how the decision makers are informed?

Impact-driven Philanthropy Funds Our Issue Funds are vetted for impact philanthropy and must meet all of the following criteria:

Equity

  • Data-centered
  • Focused on explicit disparity [race, marginalized populations]
  • Staff and board are reflective of intended beneficiaries
Effectiveness
  • Impact data is shared along the lines of explicit disparity
  • Impact data is shared about overall numbers served
Root Cause/Systems
  • Public/Private partnerships
  • Civic engagement, education, mobilization
  • Language on shifting systems
Transparency

While we assess transparency, we do not use it to vet issue funds for our repository.

  • Who is supported
  • How decisions are made
  • Who makes the decisions

View All Funds

Disaster Relief and Resilience Funds

During a crisis, Giving Compass moves quickly to aggregate and elevate rapid response and relief funds that are emerging for donors. Our goal is to build a directory of funds that:

  • Represent the full breadth and depth of work happening in the sector, from grassroots organizing for systems change to efforts to scale proven models
  • Include geographic diversity and breadth

Because of the urgency of these situations, we relax some of ourstandard due diligence criteria. The disaster funds featured on Giving Compass are:

  • Open to contributions from individual donors
  • Hosted at an organization that serves as an intermediary and regrants to other organizations
  • Hosted at organizations in good financial standing with at least two years’ track record. If younger than two years old, additional diligence has been done on leadership and board.

Giving Compass cares deeply about equity and is working to elevate funds that prioritize social justice and populations least well-served by systems.

Because of the number of users and the potential volume of donations, and because of the mission and target audience for our platform, we are not including funds hosted at crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe. We also are directing donors who want to support funds launched by individual nonprofits (to support their own work) to Charity Navigator, which has recommended organizations.

The funds featured on Giving Compass allow donors to give to many organizations with a single contribution and provide peace of mind that someone else is selecting the right organizations.

View Disaster Funds

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Interested in being a part of our content and resource directories? Want to use our services and technology to bring our curated resources to your donors and clients? Then click here to discover ways to partner with us.


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