The splendid news last week that BIG lottery fund have released data on 112596 grants, awarded between 2004-2012, has been eagerly anticipated by a small but perfectly formed band of UK open grants data enthusiasts. Having been the designated ‘data guy’ within Nominet Trust for the past couple of years, I’ve been involved in a lot of conversations about the potential panoply of wondrousness that might result from 360 giving.
This release, by virtue of its scale, allows me to proffer a couple of tangible examples of how other grant makers’ data can begin to answer some meaningful questions for Nominet Trust. The ‘method’ is intentionally pithy – if anyone’s interested in the technicalities, just drop me a line.
Are they funding stuff we’re interested in?
Method: searching the ‘Press Summary’ for the keyword ‘Internet’
Results: 873 projects (0.008%) – mean funding £27500 (mean of all projects = £37100)
Working hypothesis: BLF are not very internet-focussed
Next: more digging would be required to bring out subtleties – but probably not worth the effort at this stage…
How many Charities have BLF and Nominet Trust both funded?
Method: matching our records with theirs, by Charity Number
Result: 20 Charities – 9 funded once, 10 between 2 and 7 times, and one (Alzheimer’s Society) 62 times
Working hypothesis: our funding is complementary to BLF funding (and Alzheimer’s Society are exceedingly adept at/focussed on securing BLF funding)
Next: poke into the details – was funding concurrent in any of these, or contributing to the same project? Repeat the exercise, searching by company number and organisation name.
Early days, clearly, and these are cursory efforts: yet they already provide some insight, allow us to ask slightly better questions. Imagine what we’ll be able to do when the next 5, 10, 20 large UK grant makers bring their data to the party….