The Data I Wish I Had As A Program Officer Is Now Here

GlobalGiving CEO Victoria Vrana introduces you to the power of Atlas, the world’s largest database of nonprofits.


I am a self-confessed social-sector-ecosystem geek—as anyone who knows me well would tell you. My ambition for social change has driven my career-long quest to dig deeper and deeper into the systemic challenges and opportunities that can stop or accelerate our progress as a sector.

At The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I led grantmaking strategies to connect and strengthen the philanthropy ecosystem for many years. To this end, I attended lots of sector gatherings and biannually hosted almost 200 funders, innovators, researchers, tech-for-good entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders from every corner of the globe at the foundation headquarters in Seattle. It was one of my all-time favorite roles.

The deep feeling of community at these convenings always left me in awe. You could see and feel the social sector’s variety.

Together, we were so much more than the sum of our parts. Yet, one thing was clear: Even with a couple of hundred people in the room and more online some years, we were only connecting a tiny fraction of the world’s change leaders; we were just scratching at the surface of what is possible in collaboration.

The GlobalGiving vantage point

Now, at the helm of GlobalGiving, I have another vantage point. Our network includes thousands of change leaders in hundreds of locations who are devoted to bringing philanthropic projects from conception to completion, from building schools to ending human trafficking. Our community does it all.

Throughout my career, the role of data in the ecosystem—reliable, timely and consistent data—has always been imminently clear. I believe data about our sector is essential for informing the decisions of donors, nonprofit leaders, policy makers, journalists, and more.

How can we make any thoughtful choices and strategies without knowing the very basics about how many organizations are operating where, focused on which causes? How can organizations find one another for collaboration and alliances? How can we at GlobalGiving sustain a robust portfolio of global change leaders if we can’t easily assess the landscapes in which they operate and how they differ from country to country?

Beyond a charities list

In order to answer those questions and more, first and foremost for ourselves, GlobalGiving created the world’s largest charities list. GlobalGiving Atlas combines government data, public information, and other reliable sources to give you the most comprehensive virtual map of nonprofits across the globe from Afghanistan to Venezuela. It’s now upgraded and available to program officers, grant managers, philanthropic advisors, and any other philanthropy practitioners who want to ground their work in data. Atlas compiles data from 9.6 million nonprofits across 75 countries and refreshes it on a continuous basis.

Navigating the complex landscape of global nonprofit data becomes less daunting with a tool like Atlas.

Whether you’ve grappled with finding the European equivalent of an EIN, or felt overwhelmed by the intricacies of international nonprofit registries, you’re not alone. Each country presents its unique challenges:

  • In France, the multiple registration types and a plethora of national registries can make data aggregation feel like a labyrinth.
  • In Brazil, nonprofit data is blended with for-profit data, complicating the task of distinguishing between the two.
  • In Germany, there is a decentralized social sector, which means more than 100 local courts hold vital nonprofit data, adding layers of complexity for data seekers.
  • In Ukraine and Venezuela, where updates to national nonprofit databases have halted due to humanitarian emergencies, GlobalGiving has managed to secure the last available data sets, ensuring that you can continue to support humanitarian efforts in these regions.

GlobalGiving Atlas was born out of a necessity to navigate these challenges. It makes it easier for anyone to connect with and support nonprofits around the globe. It’s much more than a charities list—although that in itself is a value add! The voluminous data at your fingertips through Atlas includes government IDs, registration statuses, mission statements, and more; and it’s available in multiple formats of your team’s choosing, including API, JSON, or CSV.

Making grants management infinitely easier

For any grant manager, program officer, or philanthropic advisor, Atlas can simplify data entry for applicants and landscapes by pre-populating info fields. Additional data, like websites and social media handles, can be added from Atlas. It can save countless hours of repetitive administrative work, eliminating clunky spreadsheets and data entry processes.

Throughout my years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, I’ve come to understand the critical importance of accurate and accessible information for driving real change. That’s why I’m genuinely thrilled about what we’ve created with GlobalGiving Atlas.

This tool is a culmination of many years of collective frustration in the social sector and a testament to our commitment to a more informed and connected giving ecosystem. And that is precisely my life’s work!

With GlobalGiving Atlas, we’re unlocking new possibilities for how data can be utilized more effectively to meet the most pressing needs around the globe. This innovation is not just about improving our reach—it’s about transforming how we can catalyze real change together.

Learn more about how GlobalGiving can power your philanthropy today.


Featured Photo: Support Personalized Education for Refugee Youth by Better Days Greece

Looking for something specific?

Find exactly what you're looking for in our Learn Library by searching for specific words or phrases related to the content you need.

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.