Publishing data in a standard form makes it much easier to use. Through a process of research with data publishers and users we have created a ‘360 degree giving data standard‘ for publishing UK grant data. At the simplest level, this helps you work out what column headings to put on your spreadsheet and what to put into them. So for example, when two grant makers publish data to the 360 giving standard they use the same column for the date, which is formatted the same way and you know whether it is a start or an end date.
You can find out how to publish your data to the 360 degree giving standard here and there is at that link a spreadsheet and Google doc you can use to get started.
The good news for data experts is that the standard is being developed so that it can read across to existing data standards such as IATI and the Foundation Center hGrant.