Research Library Updates for 1st Quarter of 2020

In order to provide our members with the latest data and analysis on philanthropy and the issues it seeks to address, we continually make updates to the Research Library, available exclusively to members (login required). Members can browse hundreds of research reports, websites, case studies, and other resources that we’ve cultivated to help Southern funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy. 

This post captures some of the most recent additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen Sherman, SECF’s Research and Data Manager, at or (404) 524-0911.

COVID-19 Pandemic

Funding for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Candid (2020)

Candid has set up a pop-up resource page to provide the latest information on the philanthropic response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The page includes sections listing funding opportunities, national and local response funds, related news items, and blog posts addressing philanthropy's response to the crisis.

Leadership in Difficult Times: Guidance for Donors and Giving Families: Responding to the Emerging COVID-19 and Economic Crises

National Center for Family Philanthropy (2020)

In response to inquiries from member families and funders, NCFP has developed this guide as an initial compilation of lessons and inspirations to help funders and families respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the near-term. The guide offers ideas and resources from philanthropic families, family foundations, philanthropic support organizations, philanthropic advisors, and NCFP’s team, many drawn from responses to previous crises.

Research Released or Supported by SECF Members

New Orleans School Partnership Study: What Our Students Need and How We Can Help

Greater New Orleans Foundation (2019)

In partnership between GNOF and NOLA Public Schools, and with funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Baptist Community Ministries, this report seeks to identify urgent needs of students while also highlighting opportunities for collaborative investment. Among the most urgent student support needs identified in the report were mental health counseling, trauma-informed teaching, and support for English-language learners. To achieve better educational outcomes, the authors recommend creating more supports for teachers to help them develop professionally and to increase teacher retention. (You can learn more about this report, and the partnership that made it happen, in the upcoming issue of SECF’s Inspiration magazine, coming out later this month!)

Charitable Giving Report: Using 2019 Data to Transform Your Strategy

Blackbaud Institute (2020)

The 2019 Charitable Giving Report from Blackbaud Institute analyzes data from thousands of nonprofit organizations with a combined $36.3 billion in fundraising revenue and $2.7 billion in online giving. The report also compares 2019 data with that of prior years to determine long-term trends in giving. The report found that overall giving increased in 2019, with charitable giving up 1 percent, and online giving up 6.8 percent. In addition, the authors found a three-year trend of giving up 5 percent and online giving up 10 percent.

Diversity of Asset Managers in Philanthropy: A Study to Assess the Representation of Woman and Racial or Ethnic Minorities Among Investment Firms Used by the Country's Top 50 Charitable Foundations

Knight Foundation (2020)

In response to a lack of data, the Knight Foundation asked Global Economics Group to assess the representation of diverse asset managers among foundations. This study assesses the representation of women- and racial or ethnic minority-owned investment firms among those firms used by the country’s top 50 charitable foundations. The study analyzed available endowment investment data for 26 of the top 50 foundations and included only endowment investments managed by investment firms based in the United States, amounting to $63.95 billion in invested assets. From the analyzed assets, the study found 13.5 percent of assets are invested with diversely-owned firms.

ALICE in Arkansas: A Financial Hardship Study: 2019 Arkansas Report

United Way of Northern New Jersey; Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; Entergy (2020)

The ALICE Reports provide high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of who is struggling in American communities. The 2019 Arkansas Report finds that the economic recovery in Arkansas since the end of the Great Recession in 2010 has been uneven. Many families continue to face challenges from low wages, depleted savings, and the increasing cost of basic household goods. The total number of Arkansas households that cannot afford basic needs increased 20 percent between 2007 and 2017.

Trends & Best Practices

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2020

Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University (2020)

This white paper from the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University offers 11 key trends for the social sector in 2020. Each trend is highlighted in an essay written by a faculty member or expert in the field.

Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices 2020

Center for Evaluation Innovation (2020)

Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices seeks to understand the current state of evaluation practices at foundations. The report shares data points and infographics on crucial topics related to evaluation at foundations, such as evaluation staffing and structures, investment in evaluation work, and the usefulness of evaluation information. This study is based on a 2019 survey with responses from 161 foundations and updates findings from past surveys in 2015, 2012, and 2009.

Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2020

Lucy Bernholz (2019)

Authored by Lucy Bernholz, the Blueprint is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit in the digital age. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to big ideas that will matter in the coming year, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.

The Philanthropy Outlook: 2020 & 2021

IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; Marts & Lundy (2020)

The Philanthropy Outlook provides nonprofit scholars and practitioners with critical information about the charitable giving environment in 2020 and 2021. This includes projected philanthropic contributions by donor source and gifts to three recipient subsectors. The report provides empirical data that fundraisers and nonprofits can use to develop effective strategies for their organizations in the coming years. The authors project that overall giving will increase, with the largest increases coming in the health, education and public-society benefit subsectors.

The Funding Landscape: Nonprofit Perspectives on Current Issues in Philanthropy

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (2020)

In this study, The Center for Effective Philanthropy observes the nonprofit perspective on current issues in the philanthropic sector by surveying nonprofit CEOs about a variety of hot topics, including the impact of recent tax code changes, anticipated changes in nonprofits’ revenue, concerns about a recession, the pros and cons of donor-advised funds, and the prevalence and use of gift acceptance policies.

Embracing Complexity: Towards a Shared Understanding of Funding Systems Change

Ashoka (2020)

This report is a collaborative effort of funders, intermediaries, and systems change leaders who aim to demonstrate that current funding practices need to evolve to better support systems change leaders. The report identifies five principles and resulting practices that funders can adopt to better support systems change work and offers concrete recommendations for how the five proposed principles can be put into practice.

Foundation Tools & Technology

A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems

Tech Impact Idealware, PEAK Grantmaking, Grantbook (2020)

Sponsored by Grantbook and PEAK Grantmaking, this report reviews 14 of the most widely used grants management systems against hundreds of criteria developed with the expertise of consultants, vendors, foundation program officers, and system administrators. New for 2020, an online digital version enables users to directly compare different platforms.

Issue-Specific Research

The Thoughtful Funder's Guide to Global Giving: Powerful Practices and Lessons Learned from Funders Working on Water, Refugees, and Women and Girls

The Philanthropic Initiative (2019)

This report seeks to provide donors of all types and sizes with the knowledge to direct their philanthropy toward meaningful giving to address three issue areas that affect millions of people worldwide and therefore provide unique opportunities to improve global living conditions: access to safe, clean water; assistance for refugees; and improving outcomes for women and girls.

Decoding Media Impact: Insights, Advice and Recommendations

Media Impact Funders (2020)

This report from Media Impact Funders provides an examination of the current state of the field of media impact assessment, which MIF has been tracking for seven years. It also draws on insights from a few leading experts engaged in media impact assessment. The report includes a synthesis of work done in the impact space, examples of successful media impact evaluation, tools and frameworks for assessment, and the challenges of defining and measuring impact in a rapidly-shifting media landscape.

Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2018

Funders Concerned About AIDS (2018) 

Funders Concerned About AIDS’ signature report, Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS , is the most comprehensive study of foundation funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives. This edition – based on calendar year 2018 grantmaking –  captures data on more than 7,000 grants, representing over $651 million awarded by 693 funders, in an effort to identify gaps, trends, and opportunities in HIV-related philanthropy.

Rural Health Research Gateway

University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health (2002)

The Rural Health Research Gateway provides easy and timely access to research conducted by the Rural Health Research Centers, funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The Gateway aims to put new findings and information in the hands of policymakers, educators, public health employees, hospital staff, and others. The site is particularly relevant to rural-based philanthropies and health funders.

View from the Classroom: What Teachers Can Tell Philanthropy About the Needs of Schools

Grantmakers for Education (2020)

This funder brief draws on data from 1.8 million requests made by teachers via DonorsChoose over the ten-year period from 2009 to 2019 to assess how classroom needs have changed over time, how requests differ between high-poverty and low-poverty schools, and what alignment may or may not exist between teacher requests and funder priorities. Viewed in aggregate, these classroom requests provide a picture of system-level inequity in public schools. The data and findings provide an investment road map for funders seeking to support students directly, but also for funders seeking broader reform of U.S. education policy and systems.

2018 Tracking Report: LGBTQ Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations

Funders for LGBTQ Issues (2020)

U.S. foundation funding for LGBTQ issues totaled more than $209 million in 2018. For the second year in a row, the South received the largest share of grant dollars, posting a total of $31.8 million, a 40 percent increase from 2017. This increase was driven by notable growth in LGBTQ funding from grantmakers based in the South, yet 56 percent of funds for the region are from foundations not located in the South and seven of the ten largest funders were national funders based outside of region.

Stephen Sherman is SECF's director of research and data.



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