What is VCS Data?
- Charity Commission publishes certain fixed high-level information about registered UK charities
- Companies House: similar for registered limited companies
- Most UK counties have a “VCS” (an umbrella body for nonprofit work)
- Many of these VCSs will have unique data on nonprofits in their area
- Deeper than other data sets
- Wider than other data sets (including nonregistered groups)
Why Have a VCS Data Standard?
If VCSs shared their data openly using a set standard, then that data could have many uses:
- Traditional webpage directories used for referral (GPs, CABs)
- Organisations that exist
- Tags for what they do
- Service provision information
- Who is funded (although this overlaps with Community Foundation data)
- Web Apps bringing different data sets together
- Data Science
- Local Government Policy
- Central Government Policy
- CVSs thinking about how provision is spread, where are the gaps?
- Funders: thinking about where are the gaps? How can they be filled in?
- Transparency: improves quality of data; charity efficiency; disintermediates those who would ringfence the data for profiteering
- Helping provision data cross borders. Letting people look at data in a joined-up national way (many nonprofits cover areas which cross borders; people cross borders; so why not data too?)
Surely there’s a Standard Already?
No. See schema.org for generic organization information.
See https://openreferral.org/ for group profiles for referral in the US.
Who’s Behind OpenVCS?
Just me. Trevor Barton.
Help This Standard Grow
Considering submitting this to schema.org, involving CiviCRM developers, promoting it to NESTA, promoting it to the UK LGA, IODS…
The current version of OpenVCS is 0.2. This is a draft version. Get it from GitHub, fork it, play with it, suggest your own changes, additions and edits. It's for anyone to use and contribute towards.
Thank you to:
Tim Davies, Steven Flower, David Kane, Greg Bloom.