Sharing Knowledge. Growing Impact.

 What Insights Are You Craving?

Updated Tour Video
Updated Tour Video
Entering CF Insights Data
Entering CF Insights Data
Creating Peer Groups and Benchmarking Reports
Creating Peer Groups and Benchmarking Reports
CF Insights Members The Field
Services Expert Guidance and Analysis Checked
Peer Learning and Connections Checked
Technical Assistance
with Tools
Consulting and Project Support Checked Checked
Tools Benchmarking and Custom Reports Checked with Annotation
Dashboard for Board Presentations Checked
Activity-Based Costing Analysis Model Checked Checked
Economic Scenario Planning Model Checked Checked
Interactive Strategy Model Checked Checked
Knowledge Member Research Briefs Checked
Trend Analysis and Rankings Checked Checked
Reports on Key Issues and Ideas Checked Checked

* Columbus Survey Participants have on-demand access to a select subset of
benchmarking reports

Data We Collect
Data We Collect

Data Collected by CF Insights

All data collected by CF Insights is available to members as criteria with which to build peer groups and as the basis for over 60 on-demand reports.

Foundation Basics:

  • Fiscal Year End Date
  • Year Foundation Created
  • Staffing by Function
  • Strategic Operating Priorities
  • Affiliations with Other Foundations
  • Software Type Used
  • Engagement in the Following Areas:
    • Community Leadership
    • Fiscal Sponsorship/Fundraising
    • Fundraising for Operations
    • Nonprofit Resource Center
    • Services to Private Foundations
    • Special Initiatives


  • Urban vs. Rural
  • Population of Area Served
  • Geographic Area Served
  • State
  • Region

Assets and Funds:

  • Total Assets
  • Total Assets by Product Type
  • Total Number of Foundation Funds
  • Total Number of DAFs
  • Total Number of Funds Held at SOs
  • Total Number of SOs
  • Operating Endowment and Reserves



  • Total Operating Expenses
  • Special Initiative Operations Expenses
  • Operating Expenses as Percent of Assets


  • Total Foundation Contributions - $ and #
  • Total Contributions to DAFs - $ and #
  • Total Contributions to SOs - $ and #


  • Total Foundation Grants - $ and #
  • Total Grants from DAFs - $ and #
  • Total Grants from SOs - $ and #

Activity-Based Costing Results:

  • Contributions/Subsidies by Product - $
  • Total Cost by Product - $
  • Total Cost by Activity Type - $

Administrative Fee Schedules:

CF Insights collects the following fee information by specific product and fund type.

  • Total Fees
  • Minimum Fees
  • Minimum Fund Balance

Investment Data from the Colonial Consulting/FAOG Investment Survey:

Colonial Consulting and FAOG provide CF Insights with the results of their annual and quarterly investment surveys.

  • Annualized Returns
  • Overall Allocation
  • Equity Allocation
  • Fixed Income Allocation
  • Alternate Allocation

Contact for more information.

CF Insights and Foundation Center Partnership - Membership FAQs


The idea behind CF Insights is simple: What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know? Created in 2006 in partnership with the community foundation field and operated by a team at FSG, CF Insights now counts more than 150 U.S. community foundations among its members.

A Vision for 2015 and Beyond

CF Insights contributes to community foundations’ ability to share knowledge, make informed decisions, and achieve greater strategic clarity. Committed to building on this rich history, FSG and Foundation Center began conversations early in 2014 to determine how Foundation Center resources could strengthen CF Insights’ offerings to better serve members and the field. After seeing many compelling ways to integrate new data and technology into CF Insights, the two organizations have agreed to move CF Insights from FSG to Foundation Center, effective 2015. While FSG will continue to work in partnership with Foundation Center, the two organizations believe this new configuration will enable CF Insights to grow in value as a resource to its members.  

What Is Motivating the Change?

Our first priority is to strengthen what members value about CF Insights.  Over the last couple of years, the CF Insights team at FSG has asked you about what you most value in CF Insights as a resource.  Overwhelmingly, your response has been the access to peer data through the database reports.  We have long been interested in improving the features on, expanding the scope of data housed at CF Insights, enhancing the data visualization on the site, and better addressing programmatic interests (e.g., grants data, data about your communities).  FSG has many capabilities, but large scale data management and technology are not at the top of our list.  Hence, we sought out Foundation Center to explore possible partnerships and we have determined that CF Insights next generation platform should be built, hosted, and staffed not by FSG but by Foundation Center.  

This is not a simple handoff, however.  FSG is committed to serving the community foundation field and FSG staff will remain engaged through a planned transition period and over the next several years.  You should also expect to see the results of a longer term FSG-Foundation Center partnership in creating new resources and publications for the community foundation field.  In other words, your primary contacts for CF Insights will change, but you should expect to benefit from the combined efforts of both organizations over the next year and well beyond.

What Can I Expect?

Am I going to see a change in the level of member services I receive today once Foundation Center manages CF Insights?

No.  At first you should expect to meet some new people, but to have the same resources available to you and a similar experience interacting with CF Insights. Foundation Center is committed to maintaining the same level of service for CF Insights members that you have experienced with the FSG team.  We will all be working together to ensure a smooth transition.

Going forward, you can expect more value as a member of CF Insights.  Foundation Center will begin to layer in more data, improve data visualization, enhance the web platform, and create a wider range of benchmarking and knowledge sharing opportunities.

What will be expected of me in this process?

We hope you will go out of your way to give the team at Foundation Center your thoughts about what would make CF Insights better.  You can expect to be asked about the data you’d like to have available to you and how you’d like to share knowledge across the field.  

Will the business model analysis tools, such as Activity-Based Costing and Economic Scenario Planning still be available?

Yes. These tools will continue to be available on the CF Insights website. Technical assistance will continue to be offered to members, and Foundation Center will offer different levels of consulting assistance – similar to how you have been able to engage FSG over the last 10 years.


What Does the Change Mean for Our Member Dues?

Will my membership dues increase with this change?

No.  Member contributions will not change and the current dues structure will stay in place for as long as the current set of membership benefits remains the same.

We just made our annual dues contribution to CF Insights.  Do we need to reactivate membership with Foundation Center?

No.  CF Insights will transfer your membership and dues to Foundation Center. You will be considered an active member until the end of your membership cycle and renewing your membership will be seamless.

Can I still pay our membership dues with grant dollars?

Yes. Foundation Center is a 501(c)(3) so using grant dollars as payment is still acceptable.

I already work with Foundation Center.  What does this mean for my CF Insights membership?

In the near term, CF Insights membership will remain distinct from other Foundation Center subscription services. However, as Foundation Center learns more about what member’s value, we would hope you would share ideas about opportunities to take advantage of multiple Foundation Center services and streamline your relationships.

Data Sharing

Who has access to CF Insights’ data?

Only community foundations that are contributing data will have access to detailed data.   As always, peer-identified comparative reports and custom research are available only to members who have signed the member agreement.  CF Insights will continue to provide free publications and resources on trends in the field to community foundations and other interested colleagues.  

I contribute data to Foundation Center concerning other field surveys already.  Can Foundation Center help reduce the redundancy and multiple survey requests?

Yes.  Foundation Center will work across its teams and with other partners like Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Council on Foundations to institute processes that reduce redundancy in requests for data.

If Foundation Center is going to house my foundation’s data, does it mean they now own the data?

No. The CF Insights’ member agreement will remain in place.  Data contributed by a community foundation remains the property of that foundation.  As always, the CF Insights team at Foundation Center will use only aggregated data in research reports in order to highlight trends and best practices.  Oversight over the way CF Insights data is used publicly will continue to be a role of the CF Insights Advisory Board.  

Prospective New Benefits and Offerings

What are some direct benefits as a result of this change?

Foundation Center will explore adding mapping systems, data feeds, and other data visualization tools to the CF Insights platform that will engage CF Insights members in new ways. Prioritization of enhancements will happen once Foundation Center has an opportunity to more deeply engage you and other CF Insights members to understand needs and wishes. Overall, we expect that the transition to Foundation Center will enable CF Insights to:
  • Enhance benchmarking capabilities. In addition to benchmarking on administrative and operational criteria, Foundation Center can help members benchmark based on programmatic characteristics, utilizing the organization’s extensive data on grantmaking and community information. These additional capabilities will better serve more community foundation staff members across various functional areas.
  • Benefit from knowledge sharing across platforms. IssueLab, Foundation Center’s knowledge management platform, will provide access to a curated collection of publications relevant to community foundations’ work, making these resources easily and instantly shared among CF Insights members.
  • Bring new insights to member services. CF Insights will be stronger when Foundation Center’s 58 years of knowledge about foundations and the nonprofit sector are combined with the rich, longitudinal data on community foundations held by CF Insights.
  • Continue partnership with FSG. Foundation Center and FSG will engage in joint projects that take advantage of FSG’s expertise and insight-generation capabilities.

I have some ideas for member services!  Who should I talk to?

Feel free to contact Diana Esposito at FSG's CF Insights team or Brenda Henry-Sanchez at The Foundation Center with any thoughts, comments or questions.    

Fueling Impact
Fueling Impact
2008 Columbus Webinar
2008 Columbus Webinar
Pathway to Business Model Innovation Getting to "Fueling Impact"
Pathway to Business Model Innovation Getting to "Fueling Impact"
Launching a New Study: Strategic Value of DAFs
Launching a New Study: Strategic Value of DAFs
Do More Than Grow Webinar
Do More Than Grow Webinar
Columbus Training Webinar - FY 2013
Columbus training webinar
Columbus training webinar
Columbus Training Webinar - May 2012
Columbus Training Webinar - May 2012
CF Insights Columbus Data Training Webinar
CF Insights Columbus Data Training Webinar

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