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360giving – summer update 2014


With our 360 partners NESTA, BIG Lottery, Nominet Trust and Practical Participation and we have been working quietly with leading grant makers, grant recipients and technologists for the last few months on publication of data to the 360giving standard.

For grant makers this means helping them get data from their grant management systems into the 360 standard for publication, working through the issues that arise and then discussing online publication.  We have given number of briefings and talks to spread the word in trade groups special interest groups and donor collectives.  And we have funded the services of a data scientist to help people publish.

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We have been delighted by the support and constructive challenge we have received.  We are particularly pleased to see Paul Hamlyn Foundation publishing its grants to the 360 standard.  We have commitment to publish from a number of other leading grant makers too, on which more soon.  It’s good to see Nominet Trust starting to publish richer data and doing interesting things such as mapping it with links through to recipient and grant details.

We are starting to see how having something as mundane as a data standard for grants  enables, makes easier or augments other projects that join grant makers up.  The 360 standard provides a common thread for Dulverton Trust’s work on a common grants management system in and we are talking with Marcelle Spellar at Localgiving about how standarised data could contribute to their work, such as on a clearing house for applications.  We shall write some more on this.

On the technology side, we have taken large quantities of grant data and tested standardising it to the 360 giving data standard.  We used for testing the rudimentary grant data published by the lottery distributers and some statutory grant makers, often in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.  Working with the technology for development NGO Aptivate, we created a prototype searchable database of about 240,000 grants worth some £16 billion over 20 years from over a dozen grant makers.  Because the grant data is standardised, comparisons can be made between different grant makers.  The 360 prototype also allows comparative charts to be drawn of grants over time.

We are now adding into this prototype the more comprehensive data from early-adopting private grant makers.  Aptivate have also mapped the grants of two major grant makers over time allowing a fascinating comparison of grant making geography.  We shall release it online shortly warts and all – watch out for a blog post here.

Looking ahead to the Autumn working with partners we are now starting to think through how to create a registry of where 360giving data is published, building on but separate to the work of Open Spending.  And we are coming up with a plan for support of the 360 initiative going forwards.  We shall continue to work with grant makers to help them publish their data – we try to be discreet and supportive in our approach – a hectoring, regulatory-led approach is unlikely to succeed in this sector.  I shall blog some more about the pipeline for helping people publish and the common issues that they raise.

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