By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
In the eight years that I have been at WRAG, there has been one resounding refrain from our members: we need to know who is funding what, we need the information to be easily accessible, and we need it to be up-to-date. And, for the last eight years, we’ve told you that we didn’t have the tools to provide that data. Instead, we made phone calls, hosted meetings, sent emails, convened brown bag lunches, and compiled survey results. All valuable methods of connecting you to information, but not the most efficient or comprehensive ways of giving you what you really wanted: data.
Now, we have a real solution: Foundation Maps, an interactive, searchable mapping platform from the Foundation Center that will visualize members’ grantmaking in the Greater Washington region. Participating in this effort by sharing your current grantmaking data is easy and painless (you can learn more about the process here).
WRAG’s most basic function is to connect funders so that they can do their work more efficiently and effectively. WRAG’s new Foundation Map will be fundamental to this mission and will allow us to better serve our members.
More importantly, WRAG’s Foundation Map will help inform your work – as foundation CEOs, CSR professionals, program officers, or grants managers. With a few clicks, you will be able to scan the local philanthropic landscape for detailed information about who else in the WRAG community is funding your grantees or prospective grantees. You will be able to find out who else is funding in a similar issue area or targeting a particular population, and what other nonprofits are working in the same space. You will be able to identify funding gaps, trends, and new opportunities for collaboration or funding alignment. The Foundation Map will serve as the information backbone to this community.
“Data” is a buzzword of the day and many increasingly question, rightly, whether data-driven decision-making leads us to undervalue experience, relationships, and qualitative knowledge. WRAG’s Foundation Map won’t replace the convening, information sharing, or networking aspects of WRAG. But, it will help us take these activities to the next level by collecting the available data and making it easily and quickly accessible to the funding community. It won’t do this, however, without a majority of members taking steps to share data.
This is the tool that we have been waiting for. Now, let’s make it as powerful as it can be. Can we count on you to Get on the Map?