360Giving future secured to 2020 with Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Grant

We are delighted to have secured a £360,000 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to continue our work encouraging more funders and statutory bodies to publish their data to the 360Giving Open Data Standard – a shared format that makes the data available in an open and comparable way. The grant is to cover core costs over the next three years and will allow us to launch a Challenge Fund later in the year welcoming ideas for new data tools and platforms.

“This multi-year grant that covers our core costs will allow us to be more opportunistic as we go forward with our mission to make sharing and use of open grants data a vital part of good grantmaking,” says 360Giving CEO Rachel Rank.

Gina Crane, Communications and Learning Manager of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which has been publishing its grantmaking data to the 360Giving Standard since February 2016, says:

“We believe in the potential of open data, and 360Giving data can form the basis of new tools that everyone – those seeking funding as well as those looking to make grants and investments – can use to understand and improve giving in the UK.”

As part of its funding, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation offers a range of additional support and resources to grantees, including training and advice, meeting room facilities and connections to free resources and to other grantees.

This is the second grant the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has provided to 360Giving. In 2016 they supported the development of the GrantNav platform, which lets users search, explore and download grants data published to the 360Giving Open Data Standard. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s data can be downloaded here.By making a wealth of grant information available in one place, GrantNav saves users time and money, allowing funders to be more informed, and those seeking funding to make more targeted applications.

Take a look for yourselves at the grants data being published using the 360Giving Standard: http://www.threesixtygiving.org/data/find-data/

Posted in News & Updates

Dive into data reveals government hit grantmaking bullseye with Community First Fund

The aim of the Cabinet Office’s £30m Community First Neighbourhood Matched Fund was to get small grants to the under-the-radar community projects working at the heart of the most deprived areas in the UK. Did it succeed?

Until this month, it would have been very hard to tell without extensive research where the grants went, how much was distributed, and to understand whether they ended up in the most deprived areas.

But now that the Cabinet Office has published the Community First Neighbourhood data to the 360Giving standard, it has taken me just a few hours to find out how much was distributed, where the grants went, what kinds of organisations received them and if they hit their target.

I’ve produced a short report which gives some basic stats on the grants made by the programme

It shows the largest grants were for £2,500, which was also the most frequently awarded amount – around one in five grants (3,278) was for this amount, with a further 1,171 grants made for £1,000. The average amount awarded was £1,500. Interestingly it tells us something about the life cycle of grantmaking. The grants given by the fund were generally very small: the average size of grant awarded grew slightly over the course of the fund, with a mean average of £1,274 in 2012 to £1,514 in 2014.

And by using Local Authority codes, I was able to link to data on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (sourced from the brilliant opendatacommunities site). This showed that the grants were targeted at the most deprived areas – around 35% of grants went to organisations working in the most deprived 10% of local authorities.

Then by matching to registered charity data, I brought in data on the charities that have received funding. It showed that nearly three-quarters of charities funded say they work with children and young people, and that economic and community development is another key area for them.

The value of the 360Giving Open Data Standard is that it allows for data comparison. How did the Community First Neighbourhood Matched Fund compare with the similar, though much bigger, Big Lottery Fund ‘Awards for All’ programme? Analysis showed there was a greater focus on deprived areas in Community First than Awards for All, which funded a higher number of registered charities. It was interesting to see where funding overlapped – around 500 organisations (1% of total recipients) received funding from both Community First and Awards for All.

The 360Giving Standard is built in a way that encourages making these links. By using common identifiers – “GSS” codes for local authorities and other areas, charity numbers for registered charities, company numbers – you remove the ambiguity that comes from just putting the name of the area or organisation, and it makes linking easy.

The Community First data wasn’t perfect in this regard. There were no charity numbers so I had to add them by matching with the charity register on names – however it’s a great step forward, particularly getting data from a central government grant fund.
This pretty quick analysis shows that data published to the 360Giving Open Data Standard can quickly be used to give real insight into a grant programme’s performance against its aims. It’s worth also taking a look at the official evaluation of the programme.

As well as the report, I’ve made the data analysis available on github as a jupyter notebook. This format allows you to see the python code I’m running, some commentary on what it’s doing, and the output of the code, such as charts, tables, etc.

It’s a great resource that will help with future research efforts – for example by building on previous work like this NCVO report on below the radar organisations.

Posted in Blog

New Publisher: Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland inspires and supports giving that strengthens communities and enriches local life. It has built an endowment of nearly £75 million and has awarded more than £100 million in grants.

It has now published grants awarded between April 2015 and March 2016 – a total of 1284 worth £6,871,922 – using the 360Giving Open Data Standard, which are now available to explore in the GrantNav platform.

The Foundation’s Director of Partnerships Adam Lopardo says: “We aim to be transparent and show how resources are being used. We already publish a basic list of grants we make every year but expanding the amount of data and publishing it alongside others, we believe creates a powerful tool for other funders and grantees to use. It has also made us think about data we don’t capture, what we lose out by not capturing that data and we are looking at how we might capture it going forward.

“Publishing our data presents a learning opportunity. We already connect people who want to make a difference with organisations who can make a difference here in the North East, but in a world where it’s harder for local causes to be seen, heard and funded, we want to champion them as widely as possible. Through our partnerships programme we want to connect groups in the North East to relevant funders from across the UK and vice versa. Being part of and promoting 360Giving and the GrantNav tool helps us see who else is supporting the sector in the North East and they can see us.

“It helps grantees find and better understand funders who might support their work. Funders in turn can find out who else has funded the groups who are making applications to them. Hopefully the result will be more successful applications from groups and more informed grantmaking by us and other funders.

I found the process to be absolutely fantastic and 360Giving were very patient considering many of the questions I asked were actually available on the 360Giving guidance! It means that when we publish the next set of data it should be very simple to do.”

Posted in New publishers

New Publisher: Barrow Cadbury Trust

Committed to structural and long-term catalytic social change, Barrow Cadbury Trust works in the areas of criminal justice, migration, and economic justice.

It grants in excess of £3m a year and has now published grant-making data going back to April 2012 to the 360Giving Open Data Standard. This adds 397 grants worth £13,504,355 to the dataset.

Head of Programmes Debbie Pippard says: “We decided to publish to the 360Giving Standard as we strongly believe in transparency and making our data as accessible as possible for people. We believe in the potential of Big Data and want to be a part of that and we encourage others to join us.

“360Giving were very helpful and knowledgeable. Our data was in pretty good shape and with a bit of tidying we were able to publish almost everything immediately. But you don’t have to bite off everything in one go. You can publish in stages. Now our data is standardised we will be able to publish updates at the push of a button.”

Visit Barrow Cadbury Trust website to access their data, or explore their grants in GrantNav.

Posted in New publishers

360Giving named as one of UK’s most transformative digital organisations

We are delighted to have been recognised as one of the UK’s most transformative digital organisations having been named among 10 ‘Digital Charities of the Year’ in the 2017 Digital Leaders 100 (DL100) List.

The global initiative promotes effective, long-term digital transformation across government and industries.

The independent list recognises 100 people and organisations across the UK who are leading the way in digital transformation in all sectors. Previously, the list has featured industry names such as Martha Lane-Fox, Mike Bracken, Liam Maxwell, Kevin Cunnington and Eileen Burbidge.

The 100 finalists that make up the list will now compete for the public vote in one of 10 categories. You can help us get to the top of the Digital Charity of the Year list by voting for us at digileaders100.com.

This year’s list is made up of individuals and organisations, with 50 from the private sector, 29 from the public sector and 20 from the nonprofit sector.

The DL100 list has a 50/50 gender split, recognising the diversity in digital transformation roles and the leading women across the industry. 360Giving was founded by Fran Perrin who saw the massive potential in creating a digital place where grantmakers and seekers can increase their knowledge of where grants go in the UK and thereby improve the effectiveness of the sector.

Lord Francis Maude of Horsham, Chair of Digital Leaders, said: “The Digital Leaders 100 list 2017 is once again highlighting the progress that has been made in digitally transforming the UK across all sectors. Our Digital Leaders community have pulled out all the stops to let us know about the hidden heroes, quietly getting on with the UK’s digital transformation without themselves seeking recognition. It’s great to see such a strong list from outside London this year reflecting our own National programme and the growing importance that digital transformation has in organisations irrespective of size or sector.”

Robin Knowles, CEO of Digital Leaders, added: “This is the annual list membership that money can’t buy. A truly independent list nominated by our growing community and shortlisted by 10 independent judges before a public vote puts them into order.

Judges for the DL100 shortlist include, Lord Maude of Horsham, Chris Yiu, Director of Uber, Rachel Neaman, CEO of Corsham Institute, and Maggie Philbin, CEO of Teentech.

The final list order and category winners will be announced at the DL100 Awards Dinner at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel on 22 June 2017.

Remember to vote for us at: http://www.digileaders100.com/#categories – voting closes at 12 noon on Friday 9th June 2017.

Posted in News & Updates

A Question of Geography…

How many times have you said “I wish we knew who was funding what in our area?”

Maybe you’ve even been that brave volunteer who offered to try and pull the data together from whatever other group members could supply – and then regretted it. At 360Giving, one of the many reasons we are passionate about encouraging charities to publish their grant-making data to our standard is because it will make that process a lot simpler.

There are now 33 funders publishing data– from The Big Lottery with 163,000 grants to One Manchester with 66. To show people what you can do with all that information we built GrantNav, just one tool that helps people uncover the stories the data can tell. This month, we caught up with funding and capacity building officers who’ve been exploring how that works.

Dipali Chandra from Charitable Trusts West Midlands, contacted the office for help with using the data in GrantNav to look at grants being awarded at ward level. After explaining some of the inner workings of the tool, we asked her what being able to access the data meant for her work. “It’s about having the conversations we’ve never been able to have before” Dipali said. “we literally used to say that we can’t discuss these questions because we don’t know anything”.

Of course, there are still limitations – GrantNav’s filtering function uses the grant recipients’ address to locate the funding, rather than the project location and many funders haven’t included this kind of information in their data yet. But with a GrantNav data report including volume funders like The Big Lottery, BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief as a starting point, the much-needed conversations were launched.

Dipali also put us in touch with Austin Rodriguez, from the Neighbourhood Development and Support Unit at Birmingham City Council. Austin describes himself as a self-taught spreadsheet wrangler. He pulled data from 360Giving data together with other information supplied directly by funders and compared it with local public sector data profiling the population and needs. From this he was able to put together a report to advise the Partners Investing in Neighbourhoods & Communities group on how they were doing at getting funding into some of the most deprived wards in Birmingham.

Graph showing amount of grant funding by ward created by Austin Rodriguez, Birmingham City Council

Austin was excited by the data because it helped him to question assumptions and provide insights about how well joined up things are (or aren’t). The myth that grants were going to only the usual suspects was debunked by the numbers (101 grants, 81 recipients). Then the data supported a strong correlation between the spread of grants across different wards, and the number of established community organisations in those wards. It also highlighted areas of significant underinvestment, compared to need and assets, as well as insights about dependency on grants.

These are just the first reports we’ve had back in to the office about how data is being used in the capacity building and fundraising sector to support decision making and learning and we’re looking forward to hearing more over the next few months.

Graph showing average grant size by ward created by Austin Rodriguez, Birmingham City Council

If these stories intrigue you, what can you do?

If you’re a bit of a data dabbler – no need to be an expert – you might like to look at our top tips for working with 360Giving Standard data and geography so you can explore some patterns and trends emerging in your area.

If you’re in Manchester we’re currently running a publishing and use of 360Giving Standard data with workshops for total technophobes right through to experienced data users – find out how you can get involved.

Posted in News & Updates

Diving into the data: Join our Greater Manchester pilot

Julian Tait

Julian Tait: Project Lead, Greater Manchester Pilot

Understanding the local funding environment is a complex and often difficult task. A myriad of different organisations, from charitable trusts to housing associations provide funding to a given geographical area or theme. Because much of the data that shows where the funding is going is sitting in a closed spreadsheet or computer program – often labelled in an ad hoc way, it is almost impossible to work out how the funding sector as a whole is making an impact. This creates very real problems when strategic funding decisions need to be made, as there is no easy way to understand who is supporting what and where.

Over the past few months 360Giving has been developing a pilot programme to support grant giving organisations working in Greater Manchester. This started at the beginning of March and aims to address some of the challenges faced by funders who see the benefit of making grant data open in a standardised way.

A number of organisations working in Greater Manchester are already making their data available to the 360Giving Standard. From looking at data extracted through GrantNav we can see that 14 grantmakers have funded projects since 1998; and if we drill down we can see that certain boroughs have twice as many funders as others. This is probably down to a funder such as a CVS, local authority or housing association having a defined geographical area of coverage, but it might also mean that organisations in certain boroughs aren’t aware or don’t have the capacity to apply. It is only through aggregating and analysing the data that these insights can be found.

As part of the pilot we will be running a number of free workshops at the end of April and beginning of May. We would love to see you there. More information and workshop registration can be found here.

Posted in News & Updates

Putting local charities on the map

By Leigh Dodds, Mark Owen

Bath: Hacked is a volunteer-led open data project serving the community of Bath & North East Somerset. We run a data store to collect and share local data, and work with local organisations, including the council, to help explore the benefits of open data for our community. We host hackdays, run training sessions and try to build interesting and useful things using local open data.

A lot of the work we’ve done this year has involved making maps. Maps are great ways to visualise data. Taking data locked up in spreadsheets and putting it on an interactive map creates a whole new perspective.

To showcase some of our mapping work we’ve been running a “Data Advent” again this December. We’ve been sharing a new or interesting data-driven map every day.

We often find that to understand our local area we need data from multiple sources. No single organisation has a complete picture. GrantNav does an excellent job of bringing together information on grants that have been awarded around the country.

So we decided to explore whether we could map the data from GrantNav for Bath & North East Somerset.

BathHacked map

Map of grants awarded to Bath and North East Somerset

Downloading the CSV file from GrantNav showed that the data included the name of the ward in which the project was funded. This was fantastic as that meant that we could build a map showing the level of grant funding awarded within each of the wards in our area.

Our resident mapping expert, Mark Owen did the work to build the map. The first step was to combine the GrantNav data to an open dataset of our ward boundaries, using a desktop tool called QGIS. This gave us a geographic area for each grant and not just a ward name. We then used a tool called Carto to actually create the map. It’s free to use for open data and it can very quickly produce some great interactive maps.

To add a bit of flair, Mark also used some mapping wizardry to assign a geographic location for each project. The points are randomly assigned within a ward and so don’t reflect the actual locations of the projects or grantees. That information isn’t included in the raw data available via GrantNav, which makes sense for privacy reasons. But adding the points helped give a flavour of the number and type of projects running in each ward.

We’re really pleased with the final result.

It’s the first time a map of this type has been built for the local area and it gives a great overview of the range of great local charities and projects that have had funding. We look forward to updating this as new data from GrantNav becomes available.

Posted in Blog

Exploring the gold mine of funders’ data

Shona Curvers

Shona Curvers, Researcher, NPC

Conversations around data are gaining momentum in the charity sector. Open data in particular—freely used, modified, and shared by anyone—is generating a lot of hype, and for good reason. Seeking out and analysing open data from various sources – including government data – offers funders a number of practical benefits. It can improve our understanding of social need, which leads to more strategic decision-making. And funders who open up their own grants data are providing a valuable resource not only to other funders, but to charities and statutory organisations more broadly. These are some of the points that have been explored in NPC’s latest report produced with support from the Indigo Trust, Valuing Data: How to use it in your grant-making. The report explores, in plain English, the many benefits of the voluntary sector making better use of their own data, and open data.

A sensible first step for many funders is to think about the data they’ve already collected before looking to external data sources. Funders are often sitting on a gold mine of data, in the form of every grant application – successful and unsuccessful – containing unique insights into their funding practice.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, for example, improved the internal coding and tagging of their grants to categorise them more efficiently. They can now break down their grants according to keywords or beneficiary groups to gain a more granular understanding of where their money is going. By mapping this data against feedback from grantees, the Foundation can explore whether different approaches to funding work better with certain types of organisations, grants or activities.

And, as mentioned above, grants applications aren’t only a useful data source for funders themselves. Comic Relief has published their long list of applications for their Tech for Good funding programme. This will help to raise awareness around digital initiatives in the charity sector, and to potentially attract investment to some of the applicants who were unsuccessful. It will act as a valuable resource for funders who are interested in supporting digital projects, but lack the expertise to confidently assess grant applications. Comic Relief also hopes this move will encourage funder collaboration in the ‘tech for good’ space.

As more and more funders make their applications and grants data publicly available in this way, the data landscape becomes increasingly rich, creating new opportunities for analysis and improvement. Initiatives like 360Giving and their open data search platform GrantNav are playing a crucial role in encouraging this process.

There are of course barriers when it comes to working with data.

Leadership, for example, is a key concern; organisations need buy-in from senior management and the board in order for data to become embedded in the way they operate.
Not to mention, making good use of data demands a certain level of skills, knowledge and resources. But there are a range of external sources that funders can draw on to build their capacity in this area. DataKind UK, for example, offers a range of community events such as social mixers, to connect data scientists with social sector experts, or educational workshops. There are also plenty of publications that provide charities with basic, practical information on what open data is all about. Ultimately, up-front resource allocation will translate into worthwhile long-term benefits.

Conversations around data are gaining momentum, and starting by taking stock of where you currently stand will leave you well placed to benefit from the many opportunities data has to offer.

Posted in News & Updates

Philanthropists and Funders: Why spending out and closing down needn’t mean fading away

Edafe Onerhime, Open Data Services CooperativeFoundations, charities and trusts close. This is a reality for charitable organisations and philanthropists who’ve met their goals, merged or decided to spend out their funds for any number of reasons.

Take the Northern Rock Foundation. An independent grantmaking charity, it aimed to improve quality of life in the North East of England and Cumbria. And it did, awarding £225 million in 4,400 grants between 1998 and 2014. In it’s last year, the foundation awarded £10.3 million in the form of six large awards to improve the lives of children and young people and to support voluntary organisations.

On 25th April 2016, the foundation closed.

NCVO Almanac chart of merging and closing charities

Source: NCVO, Charity Commission

Like any number of large charities closing or merging, the Northern Rock Foundation had a dilemma: How could they keep the history of the good they’d done alive even after they were gone? They looked at preserving their history through their website (the story of Northern Rock Foundation) and donating their reports to the Tyne and Wear archives, keeping the information in the public domain.

Around that time, Fran Perrin of Indigo Trust was championing a way to use data about grantmaking to support decision-making and learning across the charitable giving sector. This lead to the establishment of 360Giving. The Northern Rock Foundation decided that publishing their grantmaking data to the 360Giving Standard would not just preserve their legacy, but it would keep the information alive and useful for charities, policy makers, researchers and anyone interested in charitable giving in the UK.

So, if your organisation is winding up, what do you need to consider if you want to preserve the organisation’s funding legacy? Here are three things to think about:

1. A commitment to preservation and transparency in your organisation.
360Giving may be about grantmaking data, but all projects involve and affect people, so buy-in is key to ensure your preservation project is supported and completed before winding up.

2. A good knowledge of your grantmaking data.
As your organisation is winding up, you won’t be available to answer questions about your funding. We recommend you publish good data that is useful to the charitable sector because it is usable, which means it will be used. The 360Giving team can work with you to explore what it means to publish to the 360Giving Standard and how to get there from where you are now. This means your legacy of funding will be accurate (as you control how it is presented) and can tell your story about your organisation’s funding.

3. A commitment to openness.
All data published to the 360Giving Standard is open data. That means before you wind up, you agree on an open data license. The license tells anyone wanting to use your data that 1) it is reusable, and 2) if they need to credit your organisation (or not) wherever it’s used.

360Giving primarily focuses on UK grantmaking, but any organisation can publish its grants data to the 360Giving Standard and anyone can access and use the data internationally – all they need is access to the internet. So you can get in touch with our support team no matter where in the world you are to get the ball rolling. We don’t charge a fee as all our support is funded through grants that we receive.

Perhaps you’d like to see some examples of how we preserved Northern Rock Foundation’s legacy in data? You can download the Northern Rock Foundation grantmaking file, view the Northern Rock Foundation license page or the Northern Rock Foundation publisher page on GrantNav.

Curious about the Standard? Take a look at these frequently asked questions.

Spending out and closing down happens, fading away doesn’t have to.

Posted in Blog