360Giving and Community Foundations to share data for improved grantmaking

360Giving has partnered with UK Community Foundations on a joint initiative to help shine a light on the vital funding support that you provide to local communities.

Collectively, 46 Community Foundations awarded £71m worth of grants in the last year, reaching all parts of the UK and investing in a wide range of causes that matter to local people.

But how do people know where that funding goes? And what causes and areas are not being funded? There is a lack of open, comparable information on charitable grants provided in the UK and currently no one place to find a complete dataset.

Although charities are required to report their annual accounts to the Charity Commission, this information is often locked away in PDFs. Similarly, local authorities must publish details of all grants to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, but this information is produced separately and cannot be compared between local authorities, and with foundation giving or central government grants.

360Giving aims to change this. We work in partnership with grantmaking organisations to help them share their funding data in an accessible way to the 360Giving Standard.

The 360Giving Standard
We have developed a common format for grantmakers to share information about their funding. It is called the 360Giving Standard. Think of it as books in a public library all in the same language, organised systematically. Organisations publishing grant information using the 360Giving Standard use the same headings and formatting so the data can be easily read, understood, collated and compared. With comparable grants data from a wide range of funders it is possible to:

  • Find links and patterns, such as ‘cold spots’.
  • Develop tools that add value to the data.
  • Overlay other data sets – such as the indices of deprivation, or where voluntary and community organisations are located – to deliver new understanding and meaning.

There are already more than 50 organisations sharing information about their grantmaking in this open and comparable way, including some of the largest UK charitable trusts and foundations, central and local government, Community Foundations and lottery funders. Tools are being developed to make use of 360Giving data:

Fran Perrin, philanthropist, co-founder and Chair of 360Giving, explains why she was inspired to set up the 360Giving initiative, and how open grants data is already being used to support grantmakers and grantseekers.

Making it easy for Community Foundations to publish data
You can easily publish your data formatted to the 360Giving Standard using the Digits2 system, using a process we have created specially for Community Foundations. Hyphen8 has created a step-by-step guide for extracting the data using a customised report, and instructions on how to publish the information openly.

By bringing UK Community Foundations together and working with you to open up your data, we aim to gain a better understanding of how you support local areas across the UK. We will continue to work with you and your network to identify shared questions, challenges and ideas for new platforms or tools.

To find out more about us and how you can get involved, contact our Partnerships & Engagement Manager, Katherine Duerden: katherine.duerden@threesixtygiving.org