Digital Impact Grants were formerly known as Good Data Grants that launched in 2016. These grants are an initiative to improve the digital infrastructure for civil society and help social sector practitioners and policymakers use digital resources safely, ethically, and effectively for maximum impact.


Grants are awarded for two types of projects: scholarly research and sector advancement. We aim to support research, prototypes, and shared learning that can help donors and social sector organizations use digital data safely, ethically, and effectively to improve their work.

Types of Grants

Research grants are for academic teams exploring questions of scholarly interest that have practical applications for the social sector, or scholarly review of existing practice.

Sample topics for consideration include (suggests only):

  • Research on community-based governance and oversight of data assets. ​Surveys or analyses of the state of the field, or comparative analysis of different methodologies are of interest.
  • Research to inform policy regarding a standard for public reporting of data from crowdfunding platforms.
  • New applications of data science, or use of new data sets such as social media or payment processor data, to understand the relationships (complementary, substitutional, other) between individual political, charitable contributions. What can these data sets tell us about how we spend money in line with our values?

Sector Grants are intended for nonprofits and partners to address sector-wide challenges in using digital data safely, ethically and effectively.  Priority will be given to projects that align with the four principles for digital data use outlined on the Digital Impact Toolkit: consent, privacy, openness and pluralism.

Sample ideas for sector grants (suggestions only):

  • Development and review of principles, practices, and processes for sharing data across nonprofits, government, and/or industry.
  • Digital fundraising or marketing practices that meet EU GDPR requirements and can be turned into specifications for use and adaptation by other organizations.
  • Organizational templates or processes for improving digital literacy and security.

Collaboration: For both grant categories (research and sector), preference will be given to projects that involve one or more nonprofit or civil society organization partners, and that have a clear plan for sharing what they learn or produce.

Digital Impact is committed to supporting cohorts of grantees and connecting them to the broader Digital Impact and Digital Civil Society Lab communities. Toward that end, all applicants, regardless of whether they are selected for a grant or not, will have the opportunity to opt in to share their contact information and ideas as part of a “map” of the field, which the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford will build on over time and make publicly available for anyone’s use.


Scholars from all academic disciplines and cross-disciplinary teams are welcome to apply.

Research grants will be made to faculty or graduate students at universities in the United States and abroad. Priority will be given to research projects with either a demonstrated commitment to practical applications in the social sector or those that clearly articulate a plan to turn their research into practical knowledge. We welcome applications from any disciplinary perspective or methodology, as well as applications that bring together multiple disciplinary inquiries.

Sector grants will be made to non-profit organizations in the United States and abroad. U.S.-based organizations must have 501(c)(3) status. Organizations based outside of the U.S. must have equivalent exempt status. Please note that the grant excludes activities with countries against which the United States maintains a comprehensive embargo unless such activities are fully authorized by the U.S. government under applicable law and specifically approved by the Gates Foundation in its sole discretion.

Funding Available

Total funding pool available for grants: $200,000

Grant duration: one year, beginning late Fall 2017 and ending fall 2018

To all successful applicants: grantees must agree to make their findings and/or innovations publicly available according to the Open Access policy of the Gates Foundation, which supports Digital Impact.

Useful Links

Full details regarding the Digital Impact Grants


CORIS Internal Deadline for Review Please contact your Research Facilitator
cuResearch Checklist Deadline June 5, 2017
Submission to sponsor June 12, 2017 5:00 PM (PT)

Submitting Your Application

  • Applications must be submitted via cuResearch, through which Departmental and Associate Dean’s approval must be provided to complete the online application process.
  • More information on cuResearch can be found here.

Internal Contacts

If you would like assistance with proposal development and/or a substantive review of your proposal, please contact the appropriate Research Facilitator