To understand the makeup of the nonprofits they support, individual funders increasingly request demographic information directly from current and potential grantees. The goal of requesting this data is often to ensure they are funding equitably and in alignment with their mission. There was a huge increase in these requests following our nation’s racial reckoning in 2020, as funders began to think more critically about biases in grantmaking processes. This reflects progress in our collective efforts towards equity, but it places a burden on nonprofits to respond to multiple demographic requests, with different questions and formats from various funders, taking time away from their mission-critical work. For example, Candid gets over 100 different requests for our own demographic data each year. As a well-resourced nonprofit, we’re able to comply with these requests. But it’s not a stretch to realize that smaller nonprofits with fewer staff may not be equipped to handle these requests, meaning they may miss out on crucial funding opportunities.

Earlier this year, Candid launched Demographics via Candid as a potential solution to this problem. This initiative empowers nonprofits to share their demographic data one time (data1x), on their Candid profile, where it can be easily accessed and reused by funders, researchers, and other stakeholders in the field at no cost. To address the critical problems our sector is working to solve, we need to collectively streamline our efforts so that more resources go to the places they can do the most good.

Lifting the Grantee Burden

Demographics via Candid encourages those that ask for demographic data to ask for it through Candid, instead of directly asking their nonprofit partners, thereby reducing the burden and providing a standardized benchmark measurement for the entire sector. When a nonprofit submits their demographic data via their Candid profile on GuideStar, it can be freely accessed by myriad funders.  With broad adoption, this practice will reduce inefficiencies, cut down on duplicate information requests, and give nonprofits time back to devote to their missions. More than 100 partners have already signed on to Demographics via Candid and we are eager for more funders to commit to this initiative.

Currently more than 60,000 nonprofits have already shared demographic data with Candid. Funders can retrieve this data from nonprofit profiles on Candid’s GuideStar, where anyone can access it. Candid also makes this information freely available in multiple ways to increase adoption and facilitate this data flow through existing grantmaking processes.

Collaborating for the Benefit of All: Funders, Grantees, and Grants Management Systems

Here’s an example of how incorporating nonprofit demographic data worked for the $170 million in 2021. Starting in 2021, the Mott Foundation requested that all grantees share their demographic data through their Candid profile. This simple, one-time action by the grant seeker allows the data to be accessed by funders, donors, researchers, advocates, and anyone else who views it on GuideStar.

Read the full article about reducing nonprofit burdens by Aleda Gagarin at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.