We’re on a mission to make forms as short as possible. We don’t ask for information that we won’t use. And we’ve been working along with other funders and Evaluation Support Scotland to make sure reporting is valuable and not a burden.
Data shared with us in application and progress forms really is important. It tells us where you are, who you are working with, how many people take part, how many volunteers get involved and what jobs are created.
Putting this together with data from the 1,500 other applications we get in Scotland each year, we think we’re onto something pretty special.
So what do we do with this data?
First things first – we use it extensively in our own day-to-day work. In policy making, for example, looking at local area success rates to choose places to focus funding on. Analysing data can also help us discover and share good practice, like our recent research on tackling domestic abuse. And we use data every day to help make individual grant decisions, weighing-up the value for money and reach of potential grants.
Just as important though is that we make a significant set of data available to you – and anyone else – to use.
We’re committed to open data. As a public body, it’s vital we are transparent and accountable for the grants we make. Sharing our grant information more widely also helps researchers and other grant makers use our information.
Information about grants could help another funder decide whether to invest too, it could unlock an idea to share. It might help map where there’s strong community activity, or put small groups who are not charities (so not on other databases) on the radar and able to be celebrated for the work they do.
Looking to the future, we’re working with 360 Giving and other funders in Scotland to explore how we can make more data available so it can be analysed together. This could help funders collaborate, help us give more joined up answers to applicants and more support to third sector organisations.
Thinking further ahead, could it be possible to link grant information with data from OSCR, SCVO, the third sector interfaces or from Understanding Scottish Places?
We might decide to collaborate in Kirkwall, or focus outreach in Clackmannanshire. We might find out that Moray has the best funding ‘hit rate’ or that Parkhead has the most unusual ideas.
But the joy of opening up data is that other people will find an insight we haven’t even thought of yet.
Have a look at the Big Lottery Fund data and let us know what you discover.