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COVID19: Guidance on tagging and tracking changes to existing grants

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In response to the coronavirus crisis, some funders are making changes to what their grants are funding. By updating their existing grants data accordingly, funders can contribute to the bigger picture of how projects and organisations are being affected, and the changes being made in response.

Here, we set out guidance on how funders can make amendments to their published 360Giving grants data.

 

In response to our call-out for funders to publish data about grants they have awarded in response to the coronavirus crisis using the phrase ‘COVID19’, a number of you have been in touch to ask about sharing information on significant changes to existing grants due to the crisis.

The COVID19 funders’ pledge – coordinated by London Funders – and other such commitments have set out how funders are adapting their grantmaking practices and supporting their grantees.

Some of these changes are internal to the grantmaking process – such as reducing deliverables, delaying milestones, relaxing reporting requirements, or bringing forward grant installments.

Some funders will be seeing changes to how funded work is being delivered which do not affect the social outcomes, for example training sessions being delivered online rather than in-person.

There are also examples of significant changes being made to what grants are funding. These might include altered activities, removal of restrictions and increases to the award amount.

We believe there is value in updating existing grants data when significant changes have been made to what grants are funding. We have developed the following guidance on how to make amendments to published 360Giving grants data, so it can contribute to the bigger picture of how projects and organisations are being affected by the crisis, and the changes that are being made in response.

How to amend grant records

Leave the Award Date field unchanged. This will allow users to distinguish between grants awarded in response to the crisis from grants amended as a result of the crisis.

For changes to funded activity, update the Description field to include “COVID19 variation:” adding a brief description about what has changed.

  • Description: £30,000 towards the cost of running after school drop-in project. COVID19 variation: funding unrestricted to be used towards the organisation’s core costs.

For changes to award amount, update Amount Awarded field to the new total award amount. Update the grant Description field to include “COVID19 variation:” and add a note of the increase.

  • Description: Towards core costs. COVID19 variation: total funding increased by £10,000 to £20,000.

If there is a change to the funded activity and increase to the award amount, update the Amount Awarded field to the new total award. Update the grant Description to include “COVID19 variation:” and add a note of the increase and brief description about what has changed.

  • Description: £100,000 grant towards the salary cost of a welfare benefits advisor. COVID19 variation: funding increased by £25,000 to support organisation’s transition to providing advice services online.

If additional funding is given via a separate grant, the link between the existing and new grant can be shown by including the unique grant Identifier in the description. In the new grant Description include “COVID19 related grant:” and add the full Identifier of the linked grant.

  • Description: Additional funding to purchase two fridge freezers to increase capacity to store food for distribution. COVID19 related grant: 360G-ExampleFdn-12345.

Responsible data sharing

In this unprecedented and rapidly evolving crisis, it is vital to have clear information about who is being affected, how and where, and what is being done in response.

However, while transparency and data sharing will have an important role to play in helping funders coordinate effectively, there will be times when openness needs to be balanced against the potential harms of making information available.

We recognise that there will be circumstances where details on how an organisation or project is being affected should be highly generalised before being published. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to share at all. For example, references to staff illness, redundancies, the details of rescue packages, or anything that might affect the reputation of a charity. Do not include anything in open data that the grantee may not publicly say themselves.

Internal information management

While not all changes will be suitable for including in published grants data, it is important to keep an internal record of how grantees are being affected and funders are responding. If possible, set up internal systems to allow affected grant recipients to be flagged and to collect data on all the different types of changes that are being made. Capturing this information will support monitoring as the crisis develops and learning once it has passed, making it possible to report in aggregate on the extent and ways that the sector has been affected.

Please share your feedback

This guidance was developed based on discussions with 360Giving data publishers. Further guides may be developed as and when needed, so please send any questions or feedback on what else you would find useful to info@threesixtygiving.org.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash