The Digital Agency for International Development

Open Data for Philanthropic Funding to increase transparency

By Alan Jackson on 30 April 2014

Open data would bring greater transparency and accountability within philanthropy. It has the potential to foster greater collaboration between funders and "joined up thinking", to help funders' diligence, and particularly for the larger funders to help them understand their own patterns of funding by openning up their data to external analysis.


The International Aid Transparency Initiative have successfully been promoting a standard for making funding data open and accessible. The IATI standard is currently used by 230 organisation including donor agencies like DFID and the World Bank.

Philanthropic funders, such as trusts and foundations are not generally publishing their funding data in IATI if they are publishing it at all. The IATI standard is powerful but it may be a bit too complex for many philanthropic funders to deal with.

The Indigo Trust founded the 360 Giving project to promote open data for philanthropic funding. The project has already created a prototype standard designed to be compatible with but much simpler than the IATI standard.

Our Project

We are now giving the prototype it's first real spin round the block. William Perrin from Indigo, using FOI requests, has obtained quarter of million funding activity records from funders in the UK. We are putting these records into the standard, finding out what the issues are and what analysis we can do with the combined data.

We have to two objectives:

  • First to give the prototype standard a good test and make any recommendations for developing it further.
  • Second to demonstrate the value of sharing funding data by showing what can be done with it.