How does the trends methodology differ from our annual analyses?

We analyze foundation grants data each year to create annual snapshots of human rights funding. With multiple years of data under our belt, in 2018 we produced our first analysis of human rights funding trends over time – looking at grantmaking from 2011 to 2015 – to gain insights into shifts in the field. Our methodology for the trends analysis differs from our annual analyses in important ways.

Our annual analyses for 2011 to 2015 included data from 1,193 funders. However, because many of these funders did not participate in the research all five years, we used a subset of 561 funders for the trends analysis that had reported at least one human rights grant each year to control for year-to-year variations. The funding totals for the trends analysis are therefore less than the total you'd get if you add all five years of human rights funding together.

We have also tweaked our search criteria over the course of the project in an ongoing effort to improve accuracy and reflect changes in the field. The criteria used to identify human rights grants has therefore varied slightly from year to year. In the trends analysis, to ensure consistency, we applied the most current criteria to all five years of data.