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Grants to Individuals Project

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In this blog we share plans for the development of the 360Giving Data Standard to reflect a wider range of grants, and future updates to 360Giving tools.

Update (13/9): 360Giving’s consultation on grants to individuals is now closed. Thanks to all who provided their feedback and insights.

Background

When 360Giving developed the Data Standard, it was designed and intended for describing grants to organisations. While there have been some examples of funders using the Standard to share data about grants to individuals, the vast majority of the over 750,000 grants published by over 230 grantmakers are to organisations. However, we have always intended for 360Giving’s work to be flexible and respond to the needs of both grantmakers and the communities they serve. This is why we have launched a project on including grants to individuals in the 360Giving Data Standard. In this blog we explain why we’re doing this, the benefits to funders and the sector, and next steps. 

When we engaged with the sector and 360Giving data and tools users as part of our strategy development in 2021, several people expressed a desire for understanding the grants made to individuals as part of this wider picture of UK grantmaking. In autumn 2021, the Grantmakers’ Alliance collaboration of funders approached 360Giving about options for sharing useful data on grants to individuals using the 360Giving Data Standard, and we began to explore some of the opportunities working in partnership with the Association of Charitable Organisations to establish a project steering group.

Now in summer 2022, with the cost of living crisis escalating and more funders looking at support for individuals and families in their future funding strategies, facilitating the responsible sharing of information about this grantmaking to understand the funding picture, while protecting the privacy of individual recipients, is more important than ever.

Project Aims

The project aims to improve the availability and use of data on grants to individuals to understand trends and inform grantmakers’ strategy and decision-making. This will include:

  • A common standard for publishing data on grants to individuals (anonymously) using the 360Giving Data Standard, as well as guidance and support to publish
  • Developing 360Giving’s tools to display these grants to support aggregate analysis and understanding of shared impact
  • Dashboards to show grantmaking across the newly developed categories to describe the data
  • A package of support for informed decision-making – including producing analysis and developing skills and culture in grantmakers to use the data more effectively

The guidelines for publication of these grants will focus on ensuring the recipients of the grants will be anonymous in the published data, to maintain privacy and confidentiality. These include:

  • No names or identifying information, including demographic data, will be published
  • No postcode data will be published. When location data is shared it should be at ward level or broader, to avoid the risk of geographical information being combined with other information to identify an individual.
  • Grant titles and descriptions will be generic to avoid sharing of identifying information. To support usable information to be shared which can be usefully analysed, new categories are being developed to provide a common way for these grantmakers to describe the purpose and reason for the grant.

Benefits for funders making grants to individuals

The project will establish dedicated support and resources for funders to prepare, share and analyse data about grants to individuals, enabling a greater range of grantmakers to benefit from joining the open grants data community for the first time.

Publishing grants to individuals responsibly using the 360Giving Data Standard supports transparency and accountability, allowing funders to meet a norm of expected grantmaking practice. It makes it possible to see these grants alongside grants to organisations in 360Giving tools, especially benefitting place-based funders to have a better understanding of the overall funding landscape in their area.

Through the development of new shared categorisations for grant purpose and reason will make it easier to aggregate data between funders of individuals, allowing the data to be analysed effectively and visualised in dashboards.

As a whole this will make data sharing easier, and be at a more detailed level, than the current data sharing that happens within some groups of funders as a one-off for a specific collaboration. This will support a more informed understanding of the grantmaking picture for the longer term.

Benefits to the sector

Making grants to individuals data available in the 360Giving Data Standard, and our tools such as GrantNav and 360Insights, is important to the funding sector as a whole. Grants to individuals are a missing part of the UK grantmaking picture and this is impacting understanding of the sector. Including these grants in GrantNav, 360Giving’s search engine for grants, will fill an important gap.

This additional information will support us to better analyse trends in grantmaking, especially if there is an increase in this type of giving. It will build a broader picture of grantmaking funded nationally and locally allowing the sector to communicate the collective support being provided to people and communities to key stakeholders and policy makers.

In some locations there has been a loss of local infrastructure and there is a higher proportion of grants to individuals, as well as a blurring of the definitions between individuals and groups, with local activists and artists receiving more grants. The missing grants are skewing our understanding of the local funding mix.

There are also benefits to some funders that already publish their data. Some funders make grants to both organisations and individuals, and are keen to have a way to publish all of their grants, supporting greater transparency for existing 360Giving publishers.

Next steps

A steering group has been established with representatives from a range of funders who make grants to individuals. This group is supporting the direction of the project, alongside technical review through the processes of the 360Giving Data Standard Stewardship Committee.

The steering group is overseeing a consultation on the new categories developed to describe the purpose and reason for the grants in August and September 2022. We aim to finalise the guidance and templates, and update the Standard to allow more effective publication of grants to individuals by the end of 2022.

To share your views on the categories, please complete this short survey. Contact labs@threesixtygiving.org if you need to access the survey in a different format, or if you would like to be more involved with the project, or have more detailed feedback to discuss. This survey is now closed. Thanks to all who provided their feedback and insights.