Lessons Learned, Served Up Daily


June 13, 2016

We started IssueLab in 2006 after seeing nonprofits jettison valuable, legacy data from their websites to streamline their site design and save money. Organizations doing similar kinds of work often knew little about their peers and potential colleagues, and even less about what they were learning from their work. We knew there was a better way.

Ten years on, we are hosting almost 20,000 resources, addressing 38 different issue areas, from 7,000+ organizations around the world. And now thanks to a major investment, we have updated IssueLab to make it easier for nonprofits and foundations to upload, discover, and freely share research.

But as Larry McGill, Foundation Center’s VP of Knowledge Services, explains:

It would be a mistake to focus so narrowly on what looks like the launch of a new version of a cool tool, when what is really at stake is so much more important than that.

New technology and a broad base of data is helping us realize the dream we started with: organizing the collective knowledge of the social sector, especially lessons learned about what works, for the common good of all foundations, nonprofits, and other institutions.

Some of the new site features that support that dream and mission are:

  1. An improved interface that makes it easier and faster to upload research to IssueLab.
  2. Filtered search, the ability to curate user libraries, and “what to read next” suggestions for related research.
  3. The ability to issue Digital Object Identifiers, or DOIs, for qualifying resources ensuring long-term discoverability and accessibility across the Internet and through services like WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalog.

We accept any data-driven work that includes complete citations and references as long as it is published or funded by a social sector organization, foundation, or university-based research center and is free and accessible to the public. Which means that 20,000 resources, and today’s launch, is just a start!