Responsible Data For Human Rights Funders
San Fransisco, January 19 2016

/ January 19, 2016


Funders play a key role in improving responsible data practices. When we talk about responsible data, it’s often assumed those with the responsibility are those implementing advocacy campaigns. But it’s important to keep in mind that in our efforts to build awareness and practices around responsible data, the donor community also plays a key role. The donor community supports responsible data practices at three levels:

  • through support to grantees,
  • through communications with grantees, and
  • through internal procedures and protocols for handling information and developing program officer capacities.

Funders help grantees mitigate risk. Funders can provide much needed technical support to grantees, helping them identify gaps and needs that might not be on their radars. They can play an important role in review consent forms, data collection plans, and crowdsourcing ideas. Funders can recommend experts, techniques, templates and resources that grantees may not otherwise be familiar with.

Funders help in disseminating norms for responsible data through their communications with grantees. Funders can also play an important role in supporting the burgeoning responsible data community by ensuring existing and potential grantees understand and address responsible data issues. How much pressure should or could funders apply to potential grantees on their responsible data practices. How can we ensure that all concerned parties understand that responsible data is about more than digital security?

Through their own internal information management, funders are responsible for protecting their grantees’ data by implementing responsible data practices. Data collection, organization and dissemination are important tools for donors, just as they are for their grantees. Data helps ensure informed decision-making about program design, identifying where needs are unmet, and other similar strategic questions. Funders are also collecting, sometimes unknowingly, sensitive information and trends on the political contexts their grantees work within. What challenges do funders face in implementing responsible data practices? What techniques have been successful? How do funders’ responsible data practices help inform their support to grantees?

We’re so pleased to be working with the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) to host a Responsible Data Forum on Human Rights Funders on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in San Francisco. Participation for this event is limited to IHRFG members. This event will a space for funders to discuss their responsible data successes, challenges and opportunities.

Limited Participation

IHRFG’s convening events are only open to IHRFG members, invited speakers, and individuals eligible for membership. Staff whose functions are primarily fundraising at their grantmaking institution are not eligible for participation.

IHRFG membership is open to staff, consultants** and trustees of private foundations, corporate foundations, community giving programs, quasi-governmental giving programs, faith-based giving programs, philanthropic advocacy and support organizations, individual philanthropists with significant giving programs, and public charities (public foundations and community foundations) whose primary activity is grantmaking and who do not relate to other IHRFG members primarily as grant-seekers.

What is an RDF event?

The Responsible Data Forum event series are small, issue-based convenings to bring together advocates, technologists, to collaboratively develop materials for addressing the unintended consequences of using data in specific sectors. Over the past four years, we have developed a participatory methodology to enable creative development of prototypes and resources at the event itself, making the most of our in-person time. After the event, we share the tools more widely and seek to continue working on them.

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