Trends 2014: Methodology

Every two years, Philanthropy Northwest collects, codes and analyzes data on foundation and corporate giving to nonprofits located in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Because Form 990 schedules and funder-reporting cycles are not often in sync with the calendar year, we analyze data from two years prior to the report year; for example, this 2014 report includes grant data from 2012, while our 2012 report includes grant data from 2010, and so on.

Trends in Northwest Giving uses grant data from several sources: members, national foundations who give to the Northwest, IRS Form 990s, foundation websites and the Foundation Center. Our findings represent a sample of the more than 3,000  foundations in our region.

How do we collect and code the data?

  • We actively reach out to nearly 1,000 Northwest-based foundations and corporations, regardless of Philanthropy Northwest membership status.

  • We partner with the Foundation Center to collect data from the top funders to our region, regardless of their location.

  •  We prioritize collecting data from the same foundations year over year so we can offer a robust analysis of trends over time.

  • We code our data according to national standards set by National Center for Charitable Statistics. These standards are used by the IRS and are the basis for Foundation Center coding methods.

What’s included in our dataset?

  • Grants of $1,000 or more

  • Community foundations: discretionary grants, unrestricted, donor advised funds, scholarships

  • Corporates: cash, cash matching, dollars for doers, sponsorships

  • Grants approved for future distribution (e.g. multi-year grants in award year)

  • Grants from public charities other than community foundations (except United Ways)

What’s not included?

  • In-kind donations

  • Mission investments

  • Grants or scholarships less than $1,000

  • Direct employee cash contributions

  • Program-related expenses and other non-grant related expenses that count towards foundation payout rates