Discovering grants data: How tools and transparency can help your charity

As the sector looks to the year ahead, the 360Giving team has shared how they’re starting off the year, how their tools can be used to support charities, and reflections on what’s next for open grants data.

Starting off the year well

It’s now over a month into the new year, and for many of us the Christmas break already feels like a lifetime ago. And with a rising cost of living and continued economic instability impacting many of the communities that charities serve, it can be incredibly difficult for charities to carve the time to sit back, reflect and plan ahead.

Here at 360Giving, we’re making sure to set time aside to think about our progress so far as an organisation and what’s next for us. As we develop and launch our 2022-25 strategy, the team is incredibly mindful that things have changed a lot since we last embarked on a strategic review.

A silver lining of the past couple of years is that we have seen a shift in how data is valued and used with funders sharing open data now the ‘norm’. This means that we can now support people to make a step-change in using data to inform decision making and embed data into effective processes - supporting funders to maximise their impact.

Using our tools

What does this shift in data sharing mean for charities? On a practical level, our free flagship search-engine, GrantNav, now has over £110bn worth of grants data published from over 220 leading funders. From arts organisations to zoos - you can see who, what, where and how charities have been supported by funders.

By exploring GrantNav, you can identify charities that have a similar mission, work in your area, or have received funding from an organisation that you were hoping to cultivate a relationship with. It can help to plan your (limited) time and inform approaches and strategic decisions.

It may be that you discover potential local delivery partners or a brand-new funder! We’ll leave you to get started, and here’s a blog we wrote earlier on how GrantNav (and other open data sources) can be used to support fundraising…

Changing the way we use data

Beyond GrantNav, our tools such as 360Insights (which helps you to visualise grants data in a variety of different ways), and the Covid Grants Tracker have helped people to understand the bigger picture of funding in the UK. Developing our tools and sharing what we’re seeing is something that we are keen to do a lot more of.

This sits within the wider context that the sector is talking about data more than ever. Over the past year we have seen several high-profile publications which cover this topic, including the Law Family Commission’s ‘Better Data, Bigger Impact’ and Danny Kruger MP’s ‘Levelling Up our Communities’; as well as countless events showcasing what good data can achieve.
Contributing to conversations

This step-change has happened because the pandemic has brought into sharper focus that resources are limited and - as a sector - we all need to keep aware of potential gaps in provision and opportunities to collaborate. Contributing to these conversations, we published ‘UK Covid relief and recovery grants: data analysis’, in which we shared the trends in funding since March 2020, but also what more 360Giving (and others) needs to do to understand the data further.

Expect more from us in the months ahead on showcasing what we know (and what we don’t) and how we can improve. You can also expect even more funders to join the open data movement and share their data.

In the meantime, we strongly encourage charities of all shapes and sizes to use our tools.
Please do engage with us through our Twitter feed and by signing up to our newsletter too. We’d really like to see stories about how you have used our data, and hear any thoughts on how we can improve our tools further.

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