DEI Data Standard
The DEI Data Group is an independent working group convened by Fozia Irfan and Josh Cockroft, and includes a range of foundations and funders from across the United Kingdom. The key thread that connects these foundations is the understanding that without an effective framework to capture DEI data there can be no effective action to identify and target funding to address structural inequalities. This led to the creation of the DEI Data Standard.
The awareness of this underlying need grew out of the work of two groups. The Funders for Race Equality Alliance and their efforts in creating the Race Equality Audit tool was a substantial step forwards in encouraging grant makers to critically assess their activities towards racial justice. The DEI Coalition convened a group of foundations to interrogate more closely their ability to advance social justice and explore how data must drive equitable grantmaking.
We believe that the adoption of the DEI Data Standard will enable the mapping of DEI characteristics and impact represented by organisations we support and will drive us towards genuine understanding of social justice activities. Once we have collectively gained this insight we will be better equipped to analyse the trends in our funding practices and to discover the ways in which we can enshrine equitable outcomes (and prove these outcomes) into how we design our services and grantmaking activities.
We understand the DEI Data Standard will require work to be done to implement it and that there can be problems with any form of classification which diminishes individual identity. The standard was designed with extensive consultation with specialist infrastructure organisations and groups working to further social justice, and it is our hope that it is inclusive to anyone who may be interested in implementing it.
We have included guidance in our documentation to help you along the journey should you wish to implement the standard. The DEI Data Group is open to any funder who is interested in this area of work, and thank you for reading!
- To develop a framework to monitor equity considerations in grantmaking, with a view to including the data in published grants information.
- To plan and facilitate use of the data following the development of the taxonomy
360Giving is working on the technical application of the framework to the 360Giving Data Standard for a consistent method to record and share the data. For an update on their progress, please visit: https://www.threesixtygiving.org/2021/03/30/extending-the-360giving-data-standard/
A number of funders who are part of the DEI Data Group are planning to pilot the framework in their application processes. The group meets monthly and is open to all funders, including grant makers and social investors.
If you are a funder and would like to know more about the DEI Data Group, or would like to discuss how you can get involved, please contact Josh Cockcroft, Co-Chair of the DEI Data Group, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In August 2020, the DEI Data Group commissioned 360Giving and The Social Investment Consultancy to develop a framework to monitor equity considerations in grantmaking, with a view to including the data in published grants information. This work was funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.
Importantly, in developing the framework, the DEI Data Group wanted to involve organisations that the data is about. This included input, engagement and consultation with a diverse range of specialist infrastructure organisations, organisations working on social justice issues, and the wider sector to try to reflect, as far as possible in a unifying framework, how organisations identify themselves.
This framework is not meant to judge organisations, it simply spells out the different categories that funders could use to collect data in a systematic manner, to gauge how equitable their funding and funding practices are.
The framework will be used to inform funding strategies and specific funding strands/programmes, not individual funding decisions – except where it is explicitly a part of the fund criteria. The primary use will be for funders to monitor their grant programmes, but it is also anticipated that this shared framework will be used more widely for sector analysis.
Any framework that seeks to classify groups and communities is, we understand, inherently problematic and can never capture the nuance of people’s individual identities. However, if we don’t have a standardised way to report and monitor information, we will not have the data needed to identify and address structural inequality. Therefore, we acknowledge this challenge and seek to overcome it by focusing on self-identification, and by including a free-text option for “other identity or experience” which is not included in the taxonomy.
Adoption of the framework by grantmakers is voluntary and it is understood that it will take time to implement. This is not a solution in itself. But having the data is the first step to taking further action. This work is only one area in a range of initiatives across the grantmaking sector to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in funding practices.
No framework can encompass every possible nuance, but we hope this provides a starting point for moving this forward.
This shared framework (classification, language and approach) aims to categorise organisations either led by, or targeting and supporting groups experiencing structural inequity.
There are three elements to the framework.
- The first is the taxonomy which is the classification system – i.e. what are the groupings of charitable organisations that we might use when asking questions or reporting on results. The taxonomy is generic and can be applied to different contexts.
- The second is the approach to applying those groupings to organisations and projects, i.e. do the categories relate to the project, the organisation, or the leadership of the organisations, and the definitions of those areas. This is the context for use of the taxonomy.
- The final area of the framework is guidance to support the consistency of application by funders. This will make it easier for applicants to grant programmes to be asked the questions in a similar way, and for funders to benchmark and compare their programmes.
You can find the framework and guidance here (you will need to register an account with the Funders Collaborative Hub to access):