360Giving campaign for open data in grantmaking receives support from three leading UK grantmakers

360Giving’s campaign to open up UK grants data and make grantmaking more informed and effective has received a huge boost with a £745,000 award from the Big Lottery Fund. The major grant will enable 360Giving to pursue its ‘moonshot’ ambition for 80% of UK grants to be made openly available by 2020. It will also develop the tools to make it easy for people to access the data and support its use for greater learning and collaboration.

360Giving is focusing on three goals: to support more grantmakers to publish their grants data in an open, accessible and standardised way; to build an evidence base about how open grants data can be used for better decision-making and learning; and to develop tools that help people to understand and use the data. GrantNav, the first platform to bring together the data published using the 360Giving standard, making it easy to view and explore, will be launched in autumn 2016.

Fran Perrin, Founder and Director of 360Giving said: “This fantastic support from the Big Lottery Fund gives us the opportunity to lead a step-change in the way grants data is used to inform decision-making. We are delighted to receive such significant financial investment from the Fund, along with practical action through the open publication of their grants data.”

The Big Lottery Fund also publishes all its grants made since 2004 in-line with the open data standard developed by 360Giving, and it’s now being joined by two other leading UK grantmakers: BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief. Publishing their grants to the 360Giving standard for the first time, Children in Need have opened up more than 1,600 grants worth over £94 million, while in mid-August Comic Relief will publish over £140 million grants. All these grants will be comparable with the other 20 organisations already publishing to the 360Giving standard.

Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at the Big Lottery Fund said: “We are pleased to be supporting 360Giving to encourage more open data in grantmaking. This is an important step in fostering greater collaboration across the sector and complements the Big Lottery Fund’s commitment to transparency.”

360Giving was set up to enhance charitable grantmaking by encouraging the sharing of open, standardised and comparable data on what is being funded, where and for what purpose. In a time of austerity and increased financial pressure on charities, it is imperative that the funds available are deployed as effectively as possible. It is currently not possible to find a complete dataset on all charitable grants provided in the UK, which means that grantmakers have little visibility of how other funders spend their money and with what impact. This limits their ability to identify shared opportunities and challenges, and work together. By committing to transparency through publishing open grants data, grantmakers increase public confidence and accountability in the use of their charitable funds.

Judith McNeill, Director of Grants at Comic Relief said: “Comic Relief sees leveraging the power of digital as a key tool to help deliver social change across our grantmaking. As a funder that supports data-driven approaches we are pleased to publish our grants using the 360Giving standard so it can be compared and analysed alongside other funders and enable more informed decision-making.”

Sheila Jane Malley, Director of Grants & Policy at BBC Children in Need said: “BBC Children in Need wants to achieve the greatest possible impact for children through its grantmaking, and we are pleased to be openly publishing our grants data so it can be compared with other funders from across the UK. This is a positive step to enable greater learning and collaboration across the sector.”

Follow @360giving for updates on new publishers and developments.

Notes to editors

  1. About the grant: The Big Lottery Fund grant will help 360Giving to increase the amount of grants data published by funders, foundations and trusts as standardised open data. The project will embark on a number of activities which can be separated into three areas: outreach & engagement; publication; and tech development.
  2. The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
    We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year we invest over £650 million and award around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
    Since June 2004 we have awarded over £9 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.
  3. About 360Giving: The organisation website and publisher list can be found at www.threesixtygiving.org. Several high profile and influential national organisations are actively using the 360Giving format to open their data, including the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Gatsby, the Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation. The 360Giving data standard is also in use at the local level by early adopters such as Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Trafford Council.
  4. 360Giving helps funders make better decisions by publishing grant data in a way that can easily be compared, contrasted and analysed by all. The 360Giving approach puts grants data in a standard spreadsheet form and then publishes it openly where others can find it. This ‘open data’ approach enables large scale analysis of grants or just a simple search without having to trawl through dozens of annual reports and laboriously type up findings. It’s easier for grantmakers to find out who is funding whom and for people who want to apply for grants.
  5. About Comic Relief: Comic Relief is a UK charity, which aims to create a just world, free from poverty. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredibly tough lives, both at home in the UK and across the world. For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.com.
    Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland).
  6. BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every child in the UK has a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential. We will realise this vision by supporting, promoting and publicising work that addresses the challenges that children and young people face and work that builds their skills and resilience.
    The Charity is currently supporting 2,400 projects in communities across the UK that are helping children facing a range of disadvantages for example, poverty and deprivation; children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect or disabled young people.

360Giving Press release 28.07.2016

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