Council Research

The Council on Foundations conducts and partners on national research focused on foundation management, grantmaker compensation, governance, and investment performance and practices. Use our research tools and publications to benchmark your policies and practices against peers in the field and better understand trends affecting grantmaker operations.

In addition to the publications listed below, we produce customized reports with data from our annual Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey.

Please contact research@cof.org if you have any questions or need additional information about ordering a customized report.

In-Depth knowledge on Research

The 2016 Administrative and Program Expense Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their expenses – charitable administrative, program service, and qualifying distributions – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by grantmaker type, staff size, geographic location, and asset group (note – this report does not examine fees associated with fund administration at community foundations).

The Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing, believed to be the largest of its kind, provides foundations with invaluable insights into how the sector and individual portfolios are being shaped by responsible investing practices, potential hurdles to their adoption, and what the entry points are for those interested in fully engaging these practices in their endowment strategies.

The 2014 Board Compensation Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their board compensation practices against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type and asset size.

The 2014 Salary Tables provide aggregate information on staff salaries among U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. The tables compile data on nearly 9,500 full-time employees from across the country, and include information by type of foundation and region. Mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentiles are provided.

This report offers the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. It contains salaries for 34 full-time positions; allows grantmakers to benchmark compensation against their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region; and offers extensive information on benefits policies and practices.