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It’s Time to Standardize Demographic Data to Advance Equity

Thursday, January 19, 2023

by Dwayne S. Marsh, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers & Ann Mei Change, Ceo, Candid

In the wake of racial justice movement-building sparked in 2020, individuals and institutions have devoted considerable energy and resources to furthering racial equity and social justice. 

For many philanthropic donors, examining the intersection of social impact and racial diversity of the organizations they fund has become important, particularly to ensure organizations reflect the communities they aim to serve. Unfortunately, efforts to collect this data have resulted in a dizzying array of requests, with different questions and categories, that only increases demands on already overburdened nonprofits. This data is often squirreled away in individual funder silos and not widely accessible, standardized or shared, hindering the sector’s ability to gain a clear understanding of the broader landscape.

In an age of big data, it’s clear that we need an efficient way for nonprofits to share the demographic data funders seek in an accessible and reusable format. If we want true progress toward building an equitable future, we need not only a sense of shared responsibility and collective action, but also shared data that helps us assess our impact and goals.

That’s why Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) and Candid are partnering on a new initiative, Demographics via Candid. Together, we aim to provide a simple and transparent way to measure our progress toward more equitable funding practices and determine whether we’re supporting more BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) organizations. We call on funders to join this campaign by encouraging the nonprofits they work with to provide their demographic data through their Candid nonprofit profile on GuideStar, where it’s available to all and can be accessed by other funders, researchers and sector professionals. 

NCG is already incorporating Demographics via Candid into its work by encouraging its members to use Candid’s nonprofit profile as the primary source for collecting demographic data. Through this partnership, NCG will use Candid’s demographic data to assess our progress toward a more equitable Northern California. We will work with our membership to align their values with practice, while gaining insights on regional funding trends. 

Just as Demographics via Candid is beneficial for NCG, it is foundational in moving toward a more equitable social sector.

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