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Cost of Living Crisis: Guidance on tagging grants

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Our Cost of Living Grants Tracker is now live. Use the guidance below to tag your cost of living grants so that they appear in the Tracker. Explore the data in the Cost of Living Grants Tracker here

In response to the cost of living crisis, some funders are making changes to their grant programmes and to existing grants. By recording their grants data accordingly, funders can contribute to the bigger picture of how projects and organisations are being affected, and the collective impact of the response of grantmakers.

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

With the escalating cost of living crisis in the UK having a major impact on civil society organisations and the communities and individuals they serve, we are all considering the role we can play in supporting the sector to manage through this challenging time.

The role of funders is, and will continue to be, a vital one. Many funders across the UK are currently planning and reviewing their responses to the crisis, and some have already begun to make extra funding available. 

Drawing on the lessons learnt from our pandemic response, and the need to support an understanding of the collective response, 360Giving will be developing trackers and dashboards to support monitoring.

In this blog we provide some initial guidance for funders publishing their grants using the 360Giving Data Standard about how to record their cost of living crisis funding responses in their grants data – whether in new grants or to record adjustments made to existing grants.

Tagging new grants

We are calling on funders to use the phrase ‘Cost of Living’ in the grant description, title or the grant programme title, for grants responding to the inflation and energy cost crisis, to allow the data to be analysed together to develop a picture of the scale and nature of the funding interventions. 

To further support analysis of the data, as well as tagging the grants, please ensure that the descriptions make it clear what the funding is for. This will make it possible to see which grants, for example, provide support for charities or people directly affected by the crisis, and which aim to tackle the issues through policy work and campaigns. 

Making amendments existing grant records

Many funders are also making arrangements to support existing grantees and make amendments to existing grants. When these changes impact the grant amount or what the funding will be used for, we recommend reflecting these changes by amending the published data about these grants, and adding the phrase ‘Cost of Living’ in the grant description, title or the grant programme title. Alongside data about newly awarded grants, this information will help to build a better understanding of how civil society is being affected, and the ways that funders are responding. 

How to amend existing grant records

For all grant records, the original Award Date field should be left unchanged. This will allow users to distinguish between grants awarded directly in response to the crisis from grants amended as a result of the crisis. 

To help users understand what adjustments have been made, and when these were agreed, we recommend updating published data in the following ways: 

To show increases to existing grant award amounts

  • Update the Amount Awarded field to the new total award amount. 
  • Update the grant Description field to include ‘Cost of Living uplift:’ and add a note of the increase and the date it was agreed (in the form of a full date or month and year)

Example Description:

Towards core costs. Cost of Living uplift: total funding increased by £5,000 to £45,000. Agreed September 2022.

To show changes to funded activity

  • Update the Description field to include ‘Cost of Living variation:’ adding a brief description about what has changed and the date it was agreed.

Example Description:

£30,000 towards the cost of running an after school drop-in project. Cost of Living variation: funding unrestricted to be used towards the organisation’s core costs. Agreed 22/09/2022.

To show changes 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 “Cost of Living variation:” and add a note of the increase and brief description about what has changed and the date it was agreed.

Example Description: 

£100,000 grant towards the cost of welfare benefits advice service. Cost of Living variation: funding increased by £25,000 to support the organisation to provide advice services in remote locations. Agreed October 2022.

How to share uplifts to funding as separate grants

Additional funding or uplifts could also be given via a separate grant. In these cases, as well as including the phrase ‘Cost of Living’ in the grant description, title or the grant or programme title, we recommend including information that will allow the existing and new grant to be linked.

Whenever possible this should be done by including the unique grant Identifier of the existing grant in the description. In the new grant Description include “Cost of Living uplift:” and add the full Identifier of the linked grant.

Example Description: 

Cost of Living uplift: Additional funding to purchase two fridge freezers to increase capacity to store food for distribution. Related grant: 360G-ExampleFdn-12345.

In cases where it is not possible to include the specific grant Identifier of the existing related grant, clearly state that the grant is “Cost of Living uplift to existing grant”. 

Example Description:

Cost of Living uplift to existing grant: 10% increase to project delivery costs for increased energy, food and travel costs. 

Responsible data sharing

In this 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 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.

Please share your feedback

This guidance was developed based on scenarios from funders who have published their cost of living response plans and based on discussions with 360Giving data publishers. Further guidance may be developed as and when needed, so please send any questions or feedback on what else you would find useful to support@threesixtygiving.org.

360Giving Plans

We are working on an interim Cost of Living grants tracker, similar to the Covid-19 Grants Tracker, to display the grants as they are published. Longer term, when more data has been published, we will develop a more tailored tracker which will include grants to individuals. As we further develop our plans, we welcome feedback and ideas on what you would find useful.

Watch this space!