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Infrastructure in Focus: A Global Picture of Organizations Serving Philanthropy

Mar 27, 2014
The organizations that comprise philanthropy's global infrastructure provide a necessary support system for amplifying philanthropy's effectiveness. But what exactly does infrastructure mean in the context of philanthropy? The WINGS report, Infrastructure in Focus: A Global Picture of Organizations Serving Philanthropy (, represents an important first step in the efforts to systematize information on philanthropy infrastructure. This report represents a starting point to build a comprehensive picture of the characteristics and growth patterns of the global philanthropy infrastructure. We present newly-gathered information about WINGS network participants, and share funder perspectives on how infrastructure organizations help them do their mission-driven work better. And we offer next steps for how we can make philanthropy's infrastructure more effective in service of the philanthropic sector around the world. As the report details, infrastructure organizations range from membership associations to affinity networks and include advocacy, capacity-building and research organizations focused on the philanthropy field. This growing community of institutions dedicated to strengthening global giving and social investing is explored through statistics in the report presented here. It draws on data from members of the WINGS network spanning 52 countries and six continents. The great diversity and dynamism of this emerging field is captured in user-friendly graphs and charts, some of which may surprise you. We believe that the study will help to put philanthropy infrastructure organizations firmly 'on the map'. It will be of value to a large and varied audience including policy makers, philanthropists, nonprofit practitioners, and academics who wish to understand and strengthen both the practice of philanthropy and philanthropy networking organizations themselves. (Apr 25, 2014: In a previous version of this report, the median incorporation year of infrastructure organizations in Latin America, as visualized in the graph on page 8, was incorrectly given as 1987. The correct year is 1999, as reflected in this updated version.)

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