Letter from Jina Heverley, Giving Compass CEO
As I reflect on 2020, I am struck by the resilience of our nation and our collective desire to advance our society. Amid a global pandemic and a national reckoning about racism in the U.S., each of us is trying to understand the role we can play in finding long-lasting solutions to complex structural problems.
Giving Compass has always set out to be an all-in-one platform to help donors learn about issues, get involved, and give to organizations, but the need for a trusted, go-to resource became even more clear this year.
In March -- as COVID-19 began to affect the U.S. -- we partnered with the National Center for Family Philanthropy to vet and build a directory of more than 600 COVID funds serving communities across the country and addressing a range of challenges caused by COVID-19.
By May, we saw a 200% month-over-month spike in site traffic, peaking at 82,000 monthly visitors.
In early summer, as the Movement for Black Lives protests gained traction, we quickly responded with a resource guide to help donors understand the issues connected to institutional racism against Black communities. By June, we launched 12 topic guides, including one focused on racial equity. It ranks #2 on the site, only preceded by our COVID-19 topic guide. Finally, we knew donors wanted to give in this moment, so we curated issue funds that specifically serve BIPOC communities.
In partnership with the Raikes Foundation, Giving Compass has evolved from a minimal viable product to a scaled online destination connecting donors to information to unlock their generosity. With our deep catalog of vetted resources aggregated in one place, we’re able to respond quickly to critical events and guide donors toward effective solutions.
Amid so much uncertainty, we wanted to be crystal clear with donors on where we stand. This year, we deepened our focus on lifting up impact-driven philanthropy so users can have trust in our curation and vetting process, resources, and partnerships.
Core Tenets of Impact-Driven Philanthropy
Ensuring resources and power are fairly redistributed so all humans experience dignity and opportunity.
Drawing on evidence, collecting feedback, and evaluating progress using quantitative and qualitative data.
Addressing institutional, systemic, and structural root causes to eliminate inequities in social outcomes.
Centering beneficiaries in the co-creation of solutions, ensuring integrity and accountability in processes and relationships.
Since its inception, Giving Compass has focused on helping donors understand that real change comes from addressing the root causes of issues. That means examining and addressing inequities embedded in our systems which have been laid bare by COVID-19 and the Movement for Black Lives. The broad disparities we see between populations almost always land on the intersections of race, class, and privilege.
Our goal is to elevate solutions that come from those who have experienced the systems that facilitated the problems. To do this successfully, we are regrounding our platform in the core tenets of Impact-Driven Philanthropy -- equity, effectiveness, systems change, and transparency.
The path to effective long-term change will be led by those who have been least well-served, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA organizers, many of whom are far too familiar with the ways our systems - from education to housing to jobs to justice - do not work for all people. These are the people who are best positioned to restructure and lead change.
We are clear that it’s a privilege to be in a position to give and we acknowledge that the systems that facilitate disparities also facilitate our prosperity. We are also deeply aware that philanthropy can perpetuate the structural racism and inequities that challenge our country.
For individual donors, influencing change will require proactive humility, context, and connections to organizations that drive change. The resources we provide to our audience are guided by the core tenets above. Our hope is that our practical, actionable, and fact-based content will help our audience easily access pathways to being a part of solutions, driven by the leaders who know the work best.
As we adapt to this ever-changing world, our commitment to help donors maximize their giving potential remains at the heart of our mission. In 2021, we intend to:
- Transition proven giving tools into powerful digital versions to drive more action.
- Forge new partnerships to elevate organizations and leaders in communities that have been historically least well-served.
- Partner with wealth and philanthropy advisors to help them support clients in impact-driven philanthropy.
Connect with us to be a catalyst for change.
By the Numbers
Nonprofit or foundation staff
Student or researcher
Advisors to donors
Of our members who have self-identified
Women & Girls
*Based on Google Analytics Data from Nov. 1, 2019 to Nov. 1, 2020.
Hindsite is 2020
Here’s a look back at the new site features launched this year.
- March 2020
Giving Compass partners with the National Center for Family Philanthropy to aggregate more than 600 funds addressing relief, rebound, and restructuring efforts. The directory allows users to filter by categories and other fund characteristics.
- June 2020
Designed to give donors the who, what, where, and how of giving to popular causes. More to come in 2021!
- August 2020
- Improved Search
A user-friendly design and smarter algorithm helps donors find exactly what they need -- from articles to events to volunteering opportunities.
- September 2020
- Redesigned Partner
Partner collections get a refresh with a clean and simple design making it easier for donors to connect with expert voices in the field.
- September 2020
- Advanced Widget and API
Partners can access Giving Compass' library of content and issue funds with an updated tool.
- October 2020
- Getting Started
The launchpad to Giving Compass’ vast library goes live. Donors can navigate to a range of resources with just one click.
- November 2020
- Donate Button
Giving Compass partners with values-aligned nonprofits across five issue areas to test the viability of a donation button on the site.
2020 Special Coverage
From racial justice protests to the general election, there was a lot to keep track of this year amid a pandemic. How are these events connected and how do they fit into systems change? We created special resources to help donors navigate this complex time.
Our Election 2020 guide connected nearly 10,000 users with nonprofits working to strengthen our democracy. Featured: An 8-part series on the voting barriers affecting marginalized communities.Solidarity with Black Communities and Systems Change
Our resource page, which reached more than 1,500 site visitors, is geared toward individuals looking to understand the issues connected to institutional racism against Black communities.Giving Tuesday
Created in 2012, this international day of charitable giving feels particularly relevant in a year where donors are looking to give more. Our resource page includes giving best practices and spotlights nonprofits addressing five critical issue areas, including education and health.Reimagining and Restructuring Series
Authored by Afi Tengue, VP of Philanthropy and Impact at Giving Compass, this three-part series examines how the pandemic response can lead to a more equitable redistribution of power and resources.
Featured: 37 ways to give toward long-term change in partnership with JustFund and an analysis of the COVID funds response. In our analysis, we found that just 14% of the funds we analyzed even mentioned BIPOC. Other findings included:
New Content Collections
Thank you to our funders, partners, and contributors.
Alliance for Education
Black Voters Matter
Blue Meridian Partners
Catholic Community Services of Western Washington
Center for Children and Youth Justice
Center for Effective Philanthropy
Center for High Impact Philanthropy
Donors of Color Network
Equity in Education Coalition
Katie Smith Milway
Leap Ambassadors Community
Mission Investors Exchange
Movement Voter Project
National Center for Family Philanthropy
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Science Philanthropy Alliance
Social Impact Exchange
Social Venture Partners
The Johnson Center
The Life You Can Save
The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI)
The Philanthropy Workshop
Women's Philanthropy Institute