2018 - 2019Reflections


Channeling generosity through guided experiences toward meaningful change on issues and in communities.


  • Innovation: We embrace fresh ideas, forward thinking, and fast improvements.
  • Impact: We are accountable to our mission and to delivering a public benefit.
  • Integrity: We are driven by the desire to do the right thing.
  • Inclusion: We believe in the power of elevating diverse voices and representing the breadth and depth of work in our sector.
  • Inspiration: We're motivated by the joy of giving and spreading it.

In August 2018, I shifted my role at Giving Compass to Interim CEO. My roots are in the philanthropy space so I never imagined leading a technology-based start-up, but I've found the experience exhilarating and challenging.

We launched Giving Compass as a "minimal viable product" in order to learn if this was a resource donors would use. Having confirmed that there is an audience for what we are offering, my charge this year has been to build the organization behind the product. We founded this enterprise with a commitment to blending the best of technology with the knowledge of philanthropy. I and others could bring the latter. And now, I'm thrilled to say we have deepened our bench on the technology side with our new Managing Director, Jina Heverley, who is a tech executive with deep experience building audiences and influencing behavior online.

Jina will share more about her plans later in this report, but first I'd like to reflect on the productive year we had at Giving Compass, what we learned, and what we hope to do better.

There's a Hunger to Learn

users per month

Our audience continues to grow in quantity and across borders -- combining domestic and international traffic, we're now reaching 40,000 users per month, most of which comes from organic (mostly Google) traffic. This tells us that people are turning to the Internet to learn more about issues plaguing our world and seeking ways they can help. In the era of fake news, we're proud to offer high-quality, trustworthy content to help users take the next step in their giving.

In addition to our target audience (donors), we have also noted a segment of users who are advisors, family office managers, and others who work with donors, who come to find or access resources relevant to their work. This prompted us to begin targeting these users with resources more catered to their needs and interests.

Finally, our users are spending more time with us — the average time on page has increased 58% year-over-year with our returning user base viewing 42% more pages per session than our new visitors. As we move toward becoming a go-to destination not only for learning but for personalized experiences and tools to help users be more impactful, we expect our returning user base to grow and these positive metrics and trends to continue.

New Tools for Donors

Last year, we focused on creating tools, such as our API and widget, to make it easier for partner organizations to promote content from our sector. This year, our focus has been on building datasets for donors and customizing resources to each user.

In February, we began asking members to share who they are and what issues they care about. The goal is to use this information to make the Giving Compass experience more robust in the long-term.

We also released the following tools to connect donors with experts, networks, and research:

The Philanthropy Resource Directory, developed and managed by Stanford PACS, contains 200+ organizations that support donors. Soon, we'll be able to serve this data to users in personalized ways.

Issue Funds are a unique way to invest in and learn about a set of vetted organizations working on a specific cause. We've made them easier to find and access through a searchable database.

Growing Our Audience

Giving Compass was designed and developed to support high-capacity givers, donors who have the ability to make significant contributions and are likely in the top 5% of wealth-holders. However, we also recognize that we need to “skate where the puck will be.”

The intergenerational transfer of wealth has started and is expected to be the most significant transfer in our country's history, by a factor of 8 to 10. And technology and other industries are minting new millionaires at younger and younger ages.

We consider our audience to be all people who are giving now and want to give well, regardless of net worth or donation level. Any one of our users of today could be that high-capacity giver of tomorrow and we want to connect with them as soon as possible!

The Giving Compass Team is Expanding

Jina Heverley
Jina Heverley
Mat Sorensen
Mat Sorensen

Giving Compass graduated from its incubator (Giving Tech Labs) in February 2019. We have focused this year on building the organization behind the product. In addition to Jina, we've added a VP of Product and Engineering (Mat Sorensen) and several other key positions. Mat brings extensive digital marketplace, tools, and technology expertise to elevate Giving Compass to the next level. Next up, our VP of Philanthropy!

We Keep Learning

As we gain a deeper understanding of how our audience consumes content, we're recognizing the areas where we can continue to evolve.

Partner Support: We have learned through user behavior and analytics how we can better optimize publishing, displaying, and intelligently matching your valuable content to our users.

Members: We've built a membership base that enjoys a handful of perks, such as personalized content, by signing in. However, we see new ways to add value and have plans to deepen the value proposition for members in the near future.

I am humbled to have the opportunity to shape this emerging organization, and am so grateful to our members, partners, visitors, and funding partners who have made this year of milestones possible. We look forward to sharing our reflections again next year!

We've Reached 500k+ Visitors
(And We're Growing)

From Los Angeles to London, from Miami to Mumbai, we've reached readers around the globe this year. While we've focused primarily on philanthropy in the U.S., we know that giving transcends borders. As we've grown, we've seen an uptick in international users -- India, the UK, and Canada top the list -- and we'll continue to share resources with our global audience.

2018 to 2019 increase in the number of users
India UK Canada
Age Range
Male and Female
Top 5 Countries
Audience Countries
Top 5 U.S. States
Audience States
Data collected from Google Analytics 11/12/2018 - 11/12/2019

We've Curated 30,000+ Content Pieces Since 2017

Giving Compass has always focused on building a robust library of high-quality content for donors. We believe that an ongoing learning journey is paramount to high-impact philanthropy. Each day, our team of curators finds the most relevant content for donors -- from overviews on an issue to tactical giving steps -- and publishes 30 pieces a day, ranging from articles, research, videos, podcasts, and more.


Since our launch, we've featured specially curated content collections in partnership with philanthropy leaders. From donor profiles to science philanthropy, readers can tap into the knowledge and expertise of those in the sector.

Johnson Center
Science Philanthropy Alliance

We also responded to reader interest with the launch of three issue-focused magazines. Each collection provides an overview and explores the many facets of these issues.

We Launched Our New Monthly Newsletter


We've always enjoyed keeping in touch with you - so we decided to write a little more often! In July, we launched a monthly newsletter as a way to share updates on new Giving Compass features, events around the sector, or to more deeply examine an issue. We're pleased to say we've been welcomed with open arms -- our newsletter continues to exceed industry averages for open and click rates. We're blown away by the complimentary feedback and look forward to expanding the value.

Where We've Been

We may call Seattle home, but Giving Compass has criss-crossed the country this year to serve as the eyes and ears for donors. The Social Impact Exchange 2019, Milken Institute's Global Conference, and Indiaspora's Philanthropy Summit were just a few of the events we were spotted at. Our founders also got in on the action. In September, Tricia Raikes joined Schwab Charitable's Kim Laughton for a Stanford Social Innovation Review webinar on combining passion with strategy to maximize charitable impact.

Giving Conference Giving Panel Giving Conference

Lack of time. An inability to connect with peers. Too many choices, and not enough trust.

These are just some of the challenges facing donors today.

When I joined Giving Compass, I quickly learned about these complexities, but I was also excited to see incredible innovations, efforts, and opportunities to unleash the generosity of our nation. Giving Compass is a thoughtful bet, combining the best of technology with the knowledge of philanthropy to help donors maximize their giving potential.

In a short time, Giving Compass has become a trusted, online destination where users can deepen their knowledge on issues and connect with learning events, issue funds, and other giving opportunities. It's also a place where the sector can elevate its voice, share its stories with a broader audience, and learn more about donors through our data.

But, we're just getting started!

Giving Compass aims to be an all-in-one destination for impact giving. It's time to mobilize more donors from intention to action. So, how will we do that?

Through personalized content, a suite of tools, and access to valuable communities and networks, we are hyper-focused on channeling generosity through guided experiences that are rooted in impact driven philanthropy principles and practices. In summary, we have distilled these down into four high level behaviors:

  • Find your focus
  • Do your homework
  • Work with others
  • Never stop learning

By creating a tailored experience for each type of giver, we believe we can inspire more people to gain deeper knowledge, leading to more informed actions and better outcomes, which ultimately results in more joy.

In addition, we'll expand on our existing tool/dashboard to help users create a giving plan, and track and analyze their giving and learning activities all in one place.

For Partners
We understand the need to reach more donors, to educate them, and to drive them toward action. As we build out the platform, our focus will be on guiding users toward long-term strategic giving and encouraging re-engagement through a wide range of solutions from robust do-it-yourself functionalities to connections with partners who can provide face-to-face support and networks. We also see the value in sharing insightful analytics and trends which we hope to eventually make accessible via a partner dashboard.

Looking Ahead
From the global Sustainable Development Goals to issues in our own communities, there is enormous opportunity for donors to drive measurable change. That's why the Giving Compass team isn't afraid to shake things up through best-in-class tech and content solutions. Although we might do things a bit differently, we're grounded in three core tenets:

  • Help donors follow best practices to be more impactful givers.
  • Through partner collaboration, elevate our content and resource curation and creation efforts to focus on user education and inspiration.
  • Reduce the paradox of choice and guide users toward trusted, vetted resources whether it be content, volunteer opportunities, events, or issue funds.

To all of our partners, board members, and readers, thank you for your support and collaboration. Our progress and learnings over the past year would not have been possible without your trust and belief in our mission. We are emboldened to create a resource that you'll regularly rely on and helps drive meaningful outcomes for our causes and communities together. We're excited for the next evolution of Giving Compass and hope you'll continue to “Compass It!”


  • Beth Kanter
  • BlackHer
  • Boardsource
  • Blue Meridian Partners
  • Bridgespan Group
  • Bright Funds
  • Center for Effective Philanthropy
  • Center for High Impact Philanthropy
  • Charity Navigator
  • Dasra
  • David Bonbright
  • Fidelity Charitable
  • GlobalGiving
  • Global Washington
  • Imperative
  • Indiaspora
  • Leap Ambassadors Community
  • National Center for Family Philanthropy
  • National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
  • New Profit
  • Philanthropy Roundtable
  • Raikes Foundation
  • Seattle Foundation
  • Science Philanthropy Alliance
  • Schwab Charitable
  • Social Impact Exchange
  • Social Venture Partners
  • Stanford PACS
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • The Johnson Center
  • The Philanthropy Workshop
  • The ImPact
  • VolunteerMatch
  • Women's Philanthropy Institute

Our Contributors Include:

  • ABFE
  • Allen Smart
  • American Muslim Fund
  • Animal Charity Evaluators
  • Animal Grantmakers
  • AVPN
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bonnie J Addario Foundation
  • Borealis Philanthropy
  • Bullitt Foundation
  • CEA Consulting - Our Shared Seas
  • Center for Election Science
  • Center for Youth Wellness
  • Communities for Just Schools Fund
  • David Bornstein - Solutions Journalism Network
  • Edgar Villanueva - Schott Foundation
  • Encore.org
  • FareStart
  • Feeding America
  • Funders' Committee for Civic Participation
  • Grantmakers in Education
  • Health & Environmental Funders Network
  • Joel Meyers - Seattle Tech for Good
  • JustFund
  • Kathy Calvin - United Nations Foundation
  • Liz Vivian - Women's Philanthropy Institute
  • Media Impact Funders
  • MENTOR Washington
  • Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy
  • N Square
  • Patriotic Millionaires
  • Peace and Security Funders Group
  • Pride Foundation
  • Project Evident
  • Prosperity Now
  • Rachel's Network
  • REDF
  • Remy Trupin - Philanthropy Northwest
  • Rob Reich - Stanford University
  • Scott Nielsen & Loren McArthur - Arabella Advisors
  • Social Justice Fund NW
  • Splash
  • Sterling Speirn - National Conference on Citizenship
  • TreePeople
  • The Conversation
  • UN Foundation
  • Venture Philanthropy Partners
  • Water.org
  • Water1st
  • William D. Ruckelshaus Center
  • YouthTruth

Board of Directors


A special thank you to the following supporters who have financially contributed to Giving Compass' sustainability:

  • Raikes Foundation
  • Larry Leibowitz
  • Schwab Charitable