Global platform launches to unleash the potential of data in philanthropy

Stefaan G. Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief R&D at The GovLab Fri, 9 Feb 2024 Estimated reading times: 2 minutes

In an era where data permeates every aspect of our lives, its transformative potential remains untapped in many sectors, particularly philanthropy. The ability to leverage innovative data-driven tools and methods could transform how our organisations – big or small – prioritise investments, tackle root causes and understand more deeply the communities they aim to serve. Recognising this, The GovLab and the Paul Ramsay Foundation joined forces to create the global platform Stefaan G. Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief R&D at The GovLab, explains its benefit to the sector.

The platform was launched on 6 February during Philanthropy Australia’s webinar called ‘Accelerating data-driven innovation across the grantmaking cycle’. is designed to foster a community of practice around the responsible and effective utilisation of data within the philanthropic sector. By offering a plethora of resources, including primers on innovative data-driven methodologies, case studies and the latest developments in data innovation for philanthropy, this platform aims to introduce approaches and examples to philanthropists on how data can be leveraged for decision-making, adaptive learning and strategy formulation.

Demystifying data

One of the core features of DATA4Philanthropy is its commitment to demystifying data and methods. The platform provides accessible primers on a variety of innovative data methodologies, such as Participatory Sourcing of Questions, Digital Ethnography, Living Evidence and Visualisation, and Futures Studies. These primers are designed not only to introduce these concepts, but also to illustrate how they can be integrated throughout specific phases of the grantmaking process. The goal is to expand this repository in 2024, further enriching the platform’s offerings and empowering philanthropic entities with the knowledge to harness data effectively.

Case studies as a source of learning

Another cornerstone of DATA4Philanthropy is its focus on case studies. The platform seeks to bring to light real-world applications of data-driven methods within the philanthropic and social sectors. It delves into the specifics of how these methods were implemented, the outcomes they achieved and the valuable lessons learned through the process. These tangible examples serve as a source of inspiration and learning, showcasing the practical benefits of integrating data-driven approaches into philanthropic practices.

Spotlight on latest trends

In addition to these resources, DATA4Philanthropy is dedicated to curating insights and recent developments to keep the community on top of the latest trends. This function ensures that users have access to the most current resources, insights and learning opportunities related to innovative uses of data in philanthropy. It aims to keep the community informed about the latest trends, tools and events, both within Australia and globally, fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.

Growing a community of data-savvy philanthropic leaders

The platform is also designed to build a community of practice. Recognising the importance of collaboration and peer learning in the philanthropic sector, DATA4Philanthropy seeks to cultivate a growing network of data-savvy philanthropic leaders. By facilitating connections and dialogues among these individuals, the platform aspires to create a vibrant ecosystem where ideas, experiences and best practices can be exchanged freely.

The launch of represents a milestone in the journey towards realising the potential of data-driven innovation in philanthropy. By providing resources, case studies and community-building efforts, the platform seeks to support philanthropists in making a meaningful impact in communities around the world.

The ‘Accelerating data-driven innovation across the grantmaking cycle’ webinar was opened with words from Philanthropy Australia’s CEO Jack Heath AM, while panellists included Kai Graylee, Head of Innovation and Integration at the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Stefaan G. Verhulst and Hannah Chafetz, Research Fellow at The GovLab. Following the presentation, Robert McLean AM (Author of Bulletproof Problem Solving and The Imperfectionists) moderated a panel discussion with Professor Sally Cripps (Co-Director, Human Technology Institute, University of Technology Sydney), John Sukkar (Executive Leader, Technology and Innovation Minderoo Foundation), and Stefaan, discussing how data is being used their work and reflecting on the methods included in DATA4Philanthropy.