Sharing Knowledge. Growing Impact.
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.

Community Foundation Activity-Based Costing Analysis

An in depth assessment of your community foundation’s products and services provides data to make informed decisions and improve sustainability.

CF Insights supports a common activity-based costing methodology and toolkit developed in partnership with community foundation leaders. The team offers technical assistance and comparative analysis, identifying helpful insights about each foundation's unique strengths and relative performance.

An Overview of Activity-Based Costing provides a rundown of the process, including what (and who) you'll need to get started, how this toolkit relates to Economic Scenario Planning and the Interactive Strategy Model, and what kinds of insights you can expect to gain at its conclusion.  Write to David Rosado for a copy of the presentation.

Walk through each stage of the analysis with detailed, step-by-step instructions found in the User Guide (PDF, 2,669KB).

We highly recommend a thorough read before using the model.

Refer to this Summary (PDF, 591KB) to give you a quick overview of the process.

  • The Staff Time Survey (XLSX, 100KB) is administered to individual staff.
  • The Staff Survey Compiler (XLSX, 2,918KB) aggregates all staff costs.

    As a CF Insights member you receive a free customized tool to allocate and aggregate staff costs and will not need the Compiler. Contact CF Insights for this customized tool, or for technical assistance.
  • Staff Survey Instructions (DOCX, 36KB) and a brief Overview Presentation (PPTX, 858KB) provide guidance to foundation staff completing the Staff Time Survey.

The CF Activity Based Costing Model, including input pages that build from the staff survey and detailed output pages. 

Please read the User Guide before beginning to use this tool.

Download the Excel File (XLSX, 577KB)

Communications resources help the project team engage staff and Board members. (DOC, 28KB)

Building on dozens of presentations of the project results to community foundation boards, CF Insights provides a generic Results Presentation (PPTX, 1,695 KB). Each slide can be customized with your foundation’s individual findings.

Examples of Insights

    • Match economics to mission
    • Gauge community leadership investment
    • Prioritize products
    • Evaluate alternative revenue sources
    • Adjust fee schedules

The methodology and set of tools were developed by FSG in 2003 with the support of the Community Foundations Leadership Team to help community foundations better understand the costs, revenues and overall sustainability of their products.

This tool and supporting documentation are available for free to community foundations for internal use only. Any commercial use of the tools by community foundations or the consultants that serve them requires a licensing fee. Inquire about licensing.

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