Indigo’s Data

If you’re interested in what the Indigo Trust does (and given that you’re reading this you probably are), you might want to know a little more about what we do, where we fund and who our money goes to. This site is a good starting place. On our Grants Awarded page you can find information on all our African grants awarded since late 2010. Most of the entries will link to a longer post that talks about the project, the organisation and provide a bit more information on the grant. On our UK page, meanwhile, you can find information on the handful of grants we’ve made to UK grantees (for UK-based work) over the last four years or so.

The site is great for users who want to read in-depth posts about our work and who have the time and inclination to browse the various pages and posts. But for some users (particularly those of the computer variety), the blog is of limited use. What if you want to find everything we do in Kenya, but don’t want the hassle of browsing through lots of irrelevant information about projects and grantees in Uganda, Liberia or Nigeria? Or what if you want to quickly find out our average grant size from July 15th 2011 to October 9th 2013? For that, we fortunately have a couple of formatted data streams that can provide up-to-date(ish) data in a way that you can play around with in Excel (or another programme of your choosing). Below is a brief description, including links to the raw data, a couple of data visualisation/exploration tools and a few words on the strengths and weaknesses of the data, plus some ideas for future development.

360 Giving

360 Giving is a project aiming to help UK grantmakers publish data on their giving in an open, comparable format. It was founded by Indigo Trust and is now run by a consortium of Indigo, Nominet Trust, Dulverton Trust, BIG Lottery and NESTA.

Raw data: The raw data output for Indigo’s 360 feed can be found here, although you should note it also contains data from several of the other Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. If you want to work with the data in Excel, you can use the ImportHTML function (a quick Google search will reveal how).

(Dis)advantages: Our 360 data contains details of every grant (minus ones excluded for reasons of security) Indigo has ever awarded. It’s a feed that’s generated from our in-house grants management platform, so the data here is up-to-date and generated automatically – meaning less opportunity for human error. On the downside, the current service only permits the publication of a limited number of fields, so you won’t find transaction-level data for example. There are also some known issues, particularly with geographical information and recipient identifiers. The feed is great, however, for getting an overall picture of Indigo’s funding and is the most up-to-date source of information you’ll find on our activities.

Visualisation/Exploration: As 360 is still at a very early stage, there is a limit to what can be done with the data. grantNav is a tool that allows users to search our data through keywords and you can also view data from other funders, including the Arts Council, Wellcome Trust and BIG Lottery. grantNav is an early example of what could be done with the data and contains over 250,000 grant records in a single searchable format.

Future Ideas: For the latest on 360, keep an eye on the 360 site. In terms of what Indigo can do with the data, we’ll hopefully be launching an interactive map of projects in the next few months (assuming I can get to grips with Google Fusion tables and WordPress.com’s aversion to iframe embed codes).

IATI

IATI is the International Aid Transparency Initiative and provides a single, comparable way for aid funders and recipients to publish data on their aid flows. It’s used by government agencies, multilateral funders, private foundations and NGOs.

Raw data: Our raw data is contained in two separate files (one covering all activities between October 1st 2010 and March 1st 2014 and the second containing all data from March 2014 onwards). It can be accessed via the IATI Registry site. You can view the original XML or choose to download it as a CSV file.

(Dis)advantages: The data here is updated around once a month and is done so manually. On the one hand, this approach means there are likely errors as data from our in-house grants management system is copied and pasted manually into a web form. As it’s a manual process, however, it also means the data is generally richer than the 360 data, as our IATI feed contains transaction-level data and more complete information on things like sectors. Unlike our 360 data, though, it only covers our international development flows and so is a partial reflection of our work.

Visualisation/Exploration: There are a number of different tools available to view and interpret the data. One of my favourites is Open Aid Search, which allows you to explore data by sector, funding organisation, country etc. Indigo’s data can be found here. There are plenty of other tools, too, some of which can be viewed here and here.

Future Ideas: Improving the publication process is one of Indigo’s top data priorities. We’re exploring moving from an entirely manual to a semi or even fully-automated system. In the longer term, it would be great to improve the completeness and accuracy of our data too – so publishing related documents (e.g. progress reports) is a real goal.

Hopefully, this helps provide some context and more information on Indigo’s grant-making data. We’d love to be doing more with this and welcome any feedback on what we could do better and what people would find useful. Get in touch with any ideas.