Join the open grants movement

We are a charity that helps organisations to publish open, standardised grants data, and supports people to use it to improve charitable giving

Plan: What to consider before preparing data

Decide what information to share

The D2 360Giving data extract tool allows you to publish useful information about the grants you have awarded. The range of information fields included in the extract file is fixed, however you can control the content of your data by using report filters, for example to decide what time period or grant programmes will be included. See the Prepare section for further details.

How far back should your data go?
You can publish data going as far back as you wish (and have data for) or focus on sharing information about recent grants – this decision is entirely up to you. The more grant data you can share, the richer the information about your local area will become in the growing 360Giving dataset.

Things to consider: Several grantmakers have shared many years of historical data, while others have opted to share data about their most recent year or grant award round. The decision about how far back to go is often informed by practical considerations:

  • How accurate and complete is the data in your systems? If there are gaps or inaccuracies in your older data, then start from a point where you are confident in the quality of the information.
  • Is your past grantmaking similar to your current funding priorities? If your historical grant awards are not representative of what you fund now, you may prefer to start from the beginning of your most recent grantmaking strategy.
  • If you start by publishing recent grants, you can always go back and publish historical data at a future point.

Do we have to publish all of our grants?
360Giving is a voluntary initiative and each grantmaker should decide what information is appropriate to share as open data, based on their circumstances.

Things to consider: If you find there are some practical or policy issues to address before you can publish all the details of your grants, consider which grant programmes or records are unaffected by any barriers, and move forward with publishing these. The learning from this process can then be applied back to other areas of your grantmaking once the issues are resolved.

Review data protection and privacy implications

Data on awards to grantees belongs to the grantmaker and information about organisations and the grants they receive is not personal data. However, grants to individuals, grants to smaller organisations, or named contact details for organisations, may contain or constitute personal data.

In general, open data should not contain personal or sensitive personal data that could allow a living person to be identified. Data published to the 360Giving Standard which does relate to individuals should be removed or anonymised to protect their privacy. Personal data that is published should only be done so with the consent of the individual concerned.

Before publishing grant information for the first time, review your privacy and data protection policies, and also look at your Grant Agreements or Terms & Conditions, which should provide a framework for promoting information about the grants you make.

Things to consider: Be aware that information other than recipient names might include personal data. For example description text may include the names or contact details of individuals involved in a project or organisation. Pay attention to any information fields that are entered by applicants via an online application form, and which may not be edited during the grant assessment process.

Do we need to ask permission before publishing open grant data?
Read our guidance about what to consider when publishing your grant data openly for the first time, and notifying your grantees about your 360Giving data.

Can grants awarded to individuals be published too?
It is possible to publish grants awarded to individuals if personally identifying data is appropriately anonymised or consent to publicly share the information has been given by the individual concerned. The D2 360Giving extract tool automatically anonymises the names of individuals who have received grant awards. The beneficiary location for individual grant awards is shared at local District or Ward level.

Things to consider: The D2 extract anonymises the names of individuals, however extra care should be taken to check other fields in the grant data, such as Title, Description and Recipient Org:Description, as well as Beneficiary fields, to ensure that this information, on its own or when combined, cannot be used to identify the individual concerned. If you take further steps to anonymise or remove potentially identifying data make a note of the changes you make, and ensure these checks and steps are taken each time you publish new data.

What if a donor wishes to remain anonymous?
The D2 360Giving extract has been developed to allow grant programme names to be redacted. See the Prepare section for further details of how to set programme names as ‘undisclosed’.

Example open data policy
An example of an open data policy is available, written by some of the experts who helped create the 360Giving Standard. It can be used as a template for any organisation’s data policy and adjusted to reflect specific circumstances and needs.

Examples of open data policies that have been adopted by community foundations publishing 360Giving data can be viewed on the following websites.

Next Section: Prepare