360Giving Data Standard » Guidance for publishers » Prepare and format your data

Prepare and format your data

Key tasks

  1. Register with 360Giving Helpdesk.
  2. Decide whether to publish using spreadsheet or JSON file format.
  3. Choose a data preparation method, informed by your grants data management systems.
  4. Decide whether to publish Metadata about your 360Giving data.
  5. Check that your prepared data passes the 360Giving Data Quality Tool checks.


By the end of this stage you will have prepared your grant data ready for publishing, and have tested that the file is formatted correctly in the 360Giving Data Quality tool.

How you prepare your data will be influenced by how you collect and store information about your grants.

For many publishers, preparing their data is a manual process that involves exporting information from a grants management system and converting it in a spreadsheet file. However, some grants management systems make it possible to build in some or all of the steps needed to convert the information, so it can be exported directly from the system in 360Giving data format.

Register with 360Giving Helpdesk

Once you have decided to publish your grants data, please fill in our Publisher Registration Form to let us know more about your organisation, so 360Giving Helpdesk can provide tailored support to suit your needs.

You will be provided with a 360Giving Publisher prefix, which identifies your organisation and will be used in your 360Giving data to provide a unique identifier for each grant. For further information see our guidance about grant identifiers.

Choosing your file format

There are two file formats available for publishing 360Giving data, spreadsheets and JSON.

Spreadsheet format

Spreadsheets are the most common way for publishers to share their data – the majority of 360Giving data files are spreadsheets. Acceptable file formats are CSV (.csv), Excel Workbook (.xlsx) or Open Document (.ods). Is it not possible to publish in older Excel file formats (.xls).

You do not need specialist technical knowledge or specialist software to use spreadsheet file formats to publish.

JSON format

JSON format is used for exporting the data directly from a grants management system or database, using the 360Giving JSON schemas. Some specialist technical knowledge is needed to use JSON to publish 360Giving data.

Check the technical refence on JSON schema for further details and look at examples of JSON files available via the 360Giving Data Registry.

Please note: using JSON format involves publishing the data in a JSON file; it is not an API.

If you decide to use the JSON file format to publish your data you will likely need support from a developer to set this up. Contact the 360Giving Helpdesk via support@threesixtygiving.org to discuss your next steps for using JSON as your publishing format.

Publishing using spreadsheets

For most publishers, whether you are using grants management software or you hold your grants data in spreadsheets, the practical steps to get your data ready will be similar and involve making changes to the data in the file. For funders using configurable CRM systems, such as Salesforce, for grants management it can be possible to build in 360Giving publishing processes.

Funders without a grants management system

There are 360Giving publishers without a database or grants management system who collect their grants information in simple spreadsheets. The steps to prepare your data will be similar to most other publishers.

However if you don’t currently collect information about your grants, you will need to start gathering that data in order to publish it in the 360Giving Data Standard.

Depending on what range of information you want to start collecting, you can set up your own spreadsheet, fill out an adapted version of the 360Giving Spreadsheet Template or collect your data in a Conversion Tool Template. For further details see the options for publishing using a spreadsheet section below.

Funders with a grants management system

If you use a grants management system provided by a software company it is unlikely that you will be able to build in 360Giving publishing into the system itself. However you should be able to set up and save a report to export the source information for your 360Giving data and convert it into the right formats in a spreadsheet.

Funders using a range of proprietary grants management systems have shared 360Giving data, including:

  • Blackbaud Grantmaking
  • Flexi-grant
  • Benefactor
  • CC Grant Tracker
  • SmartSimple

If you use Salesforce as a grants management system, it is possible to build-in 360Giving data publishing processes. Many funding organisations who use Salesforce have set up their system to make sharing 360Giving data more straightforward. Read our further guidance about setting up Salesforce to publish 360Giving below.

It can also be possible to build-in 360Giving publishing into other types of configurable CRM systems — such as Microsoft Dynamics. Contact the 360Giving Helpdesk via support@threesixtygiving.org with questions about how your grants management system will impact your 360Giving publishing process.

Options for publishing using a spreadsheet

For funders of grants to organisations:

For funders of grants to individuals, use a Data Preparation Template.

Using the 360Giving Spreadsheet Template

This multi-sheet spreadsheet template consists of all the fields in the 360Giving Data Standard.

There is a main ‘grants’ sheet which includes the 10 core fields and other common data fields. Additional sheets allow for the sharing of further information.

Download the 360Giving Spreadsheet Template.

Making changes to the 360Giving Spreadsheet Template

You can adapt the template to suit your needs and make changes to:

  • Remove non-required columns that you are not using.
  • Reorder the columns so that information is arranged in the way you want.
  • Move columns in the template between sheets.
  • Add extra columns to include information you want to share that is not covered by the 360Giving Data Standard fields. See our guidance on Additional fields for further details.

However, all the columns in your adapted template must use the correct headings and data formatting to ensure your data conforms to the 360Giving Data Standard. It must also include all of the 10 core fields

Filling out the template

The 10 core fields must be filled in so that there is no missing information.

For all other columns, if information is not available the field should be left blank. Do not use dashes (-) zeros (0) or N/A to fill in blank fields as this will make your data harder to use.

Working with more complex information

The majority of publishers using spreadsheets will detail all the information about each grant on one row of a spreadsheet.

However it is possible to include more complexly structured data if needed. For example if a single grant has multiple beneficiary locations, it is possible to represent this by creating ‘One to many relationships‘.

See our guidance for further information about One to many relationships.

Conversion Tool Template

A 360Giving Conversion Tool template is an Excel file designed to make the technical steps of formatting grant information into 360Giving data more straightforward. The tool can be set up to work with the range of data you choose to share with support from the 360Giving Helpdesk.

These templates are designed to prepare information about grants to organisations. There is also a special version of a conversion template for funders of grants to individuals called a Data Preparation Template

Although each tool is tailored to each funders’ data and needs, they are all set up in the same way, with at least three sheets:

  • source_data This sheet is for the grant information that needs to be formatted as 360Giving data. The source data is copied and pasted from a file exported from your grants management system or an existing file that holds your data. This sheet can also be adapted and used to collect data.
  • fixed_data This sheet is for the ‘fixed’ information that is needed to create your 360Giving data. These are unlikely to be in your source data, such as the currency, your own organisation name, organisation identifier and Publisher prefix.
  • 360_data In the top row of this sheet are the 360Giving headers that align with the data you intend to publish. From the second row, there are a range of formulas which combine the source data and fixed data from the first two sheets to create 360Giving formatted data.

By using formulas to convert the data, it means any changes in content of the data in the source_data or fixed_data sheets will automatically be picked up in the 360_data sheet.

Conversion Tool Templates have been set up to work with data exported from a range of grants management systems, including all the systems listed above.

To find out whether using a conversion tool would be an appropriate way for your organisation to prepare your data, please contact the 360Giving Helpdesk via support@threesixtygiving.org.

Data Preparation Templates for grants to individuals

Two types of template have been provided for funders, with the 360Giving Data Standard fields needed to prepare and publish useful information about grants to individuals. These Data Preparation Templates include the 10 core fields and some recommended fields and have been set up with data protection settings to ensure data is shared responsibility.

Read our guidance to how to prepare data about grants to individuals.

Setting up Salesforce for 360Giving data publishing

Some Salesforce grantmaking systems are developed and managed by consultants and have basic 360Giving data exporting functions built-in. Check with your Salesforce administrator or technical support provider to find out if this is the case for your organisation.

Even with this built-in functionality there will usually be extra steps to customise your system to allow you to export the full range of fields you have decided to publish.

If you manage your own Salesforce system, you can either get support from a Salesforce consultant or set up a custom 360Giving report yourself. 360Giving has step-by-step guidance on how to set up a custom 360Giving report and can provide practical assistance to help you configure your system.

Contact the 360Giving Helpdesk via support@threesixtygiving.org to discuss your options for setting up your Salesforce grants management system for 360Giving publishing.

Guidance for community foundations

If you are a community foundation using the Digits2 grants management system in Salesforce, there is a 360Giving data extract tool built into this system.

Access special guidance which includes a video walk-through and step-by-step instructions on how to export 360Giving data from your Digits2 system.

Metadata: making your data more usable

The 360Giving Data Standard allows funders to describe information about their grants, and provide information about the organisations and programmes related to these awards.

It is also possible to publish data about the data itself. This is called metadata.

Metadata is data about the data, such as the size of a file, how many grants it contains and when it was published. Metadata is important to help understand more about the data and how it might be useful in a particular case.

Including metadata in your 360Giving file

The metadata fields in the 360Giving Data Standard allow for the publication of authoritative metadata. Including metadata allows you as the publisher to ensure key information is provided to the users of your data. It is especially useful if you need to provide additional context or add disclaimers about your organisation or the grant data in the file.

See our guidance on metadata for further details.

For publishers sharing their data in JSON file format, the metadata is included in the Package Schema. See our guidance on the Package schema for further details.

Converting Postcodes into Geocodes to anonymise address information

Converting postcode data into geocodes protects the privacy of recipients while allowing you to include useful data that will allow your grants to be geolocated. The practical process may vary depending on the process you use for preparing your 360Giving data and the volume of data.

Geocodes can be found using the Find that Postcode website.

Firstly, use the search on the homepage. You can enter a postcode and get details of the full range of geocodes associated with that location, for example these are the results for the London postcode N1 9AG.

You can then decide which type of geocode to include in your data.

  • Some publishers use either Local Authority or Ward areas for recipient location, as these types of geocodes work with GrantNav’s location filtering functions.
  • Place-based funders, such as community foundations, often use smaller areas such as the Lower Super Output Area, to provide information about the grant location.

If you’re preparing a small number of grants at a time then manually searching to get the relevant codes and adding these into your data at the data preparation stage could be a straightforward approach.

Find that Postcode lookup result example

Using Postcode to Geocode lookup tool

Find that Postcode has a ‘Add fields to CSV‘ service which means you can upload a list of postcodes into the tool and then download a file with all the geodata you‘ve chosen to use.

If you have a batch of postcodes to convert to geocodes, the practical steps might involve:

1. Prepare your 360Giving data including a column with the relevant postcode data.

2. If using Excel, convert this file into CSV format. See this guidance for further details of how to convert a file between Excel Workbook and CSV.

3. Upload this file into the ‘Add fields to CSV‘ service at https://findthatpostcode.uk/addtocsv/

4. Select the field that includes your postcode data.

Select file and postcode field screenshot

5. Select the geocode types you want added to your file. Latitude/Longitude, Region and Local Authority are selected by default so can be unticked if not required.

select geocodes to add into the file screenshot

6. Click the ‘Add data to CSV‘ button at the bottom of the page. The tool will automatically download an updated version of your file with geocodes included.

Click 'Add data to CSV' button screenshot

7. Delete the column of postcode data from this version of the file.

8. Rename the new columns to match the 360Giving Data Standard. For example if using Ward codes the headings should be renamed as follows:

Ward Code = Recipient Org:Location:Geographic Code

Ward Name = Recipient Org:Location:Name

9. Re-save as Excel file (xlsx file format).

What‘s next?

Read our guidance to find out how to check your data using the 360Giving Data Quality Tool.

Getting further help

This guidance aims to support funders through the 360Giving publishing process. If you can't find the information you need or you have further questions email 360Giving Helpdesk. You can help us improve this guidance by filling out our feedback form.