New resource for grantmakers - The Grants Classification System

At Philanthropy Australia we have been working on developing on a standardised ‘common language’ for philanthropy.  We’re delighted to publish a new tool for grantmakers - The Grants Classification System. Designed to help trusts and foundations to classify, describe and report on their grantmaking activities, the Classification System provides a pre-determined, controlled vocabulary from which foundations can select those terms which best suit their needs.

The Classification System encompasses six facets:

    1. Type of support

    2. Organisation Type

    3. Program Areas

    4. Population Groups

    5. Geographic Areas

    6. Time Frame of Grant

Foundations can select terms from each facet, using the level of detail which best suits them, and customise it by adding in a further level of detail for their own internal use if required.

The intention is to standarise the terms used across the Australian philanthropic sector as far as practical, so that grantmaking can be documented and useful statistics on philanthropy collected which in ways that contribute to shared understandings.

Most foundations use some kind of pre-determined language to classify their grants, for the purposes of recording grant applications, describing the grants they make and reporting to stakeholders on their activities.  By classifying grants and the projects they support, and archiving this information, an enormous amount of data can be retrieved, researched, collated and where appropriate, shared, thereby building the sector’s knowledge base.

The Grants Classification System represents a first step in producing a standardised grantmaking language, which we will build upon over time. The System will be reviewed annually, and we are very keen to gather feedback from our Members as to how useful they find this tool, and any new terms which could be added to better describe their work.  Members are welcome to submit comments and suggestions to

The Grants Classification System is available as a free download here.

Nov. 01, 2007

 Tags: news, knowledgebank, admin

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