Additions to Organisation-Type codelist

(from Mike Smith, WaterAid)

Proposal to add two items to the organisation-type codelist

1 - Anonymous - for instances where organisation details are redacted

2 - Supporter-giving - for instances to describe donations from “the public”

Both would help with reporting, and could be assigned a relevant code via DAC, on investigation

This issue was originally added and originally discussed on the previous version IATI Standard Upgrade forum. However that forum has itself now itself moved to the IATI Discuss platform so this topic has been created in order that discussions can continue here.

Hi Wendy,

(As an aside, I would suggest that when “importing” a discussion from the previous forum, it would be useful to provide an indication when there was already a long discussion on the topic. Some topics imported from the previous forum were fairly recent and/or not discussed, others (like this one) had several interventions. Flagging when this is the case - and inviting people to read the previous thread - would help. )

Regarding this proposal:
We would not support adding “Anonymous” to the Org-Type list, as it is not a type of organization. Names can be redacted for all types of organizations, depending on the context. Also, not disclosing the name of an organization does not mean we should not publish the type, at least in the vast majority of cases. In fact, knowing the type of organization would be even more important when the actual name is not disclosed, otherwise we will needlessly limit the data usefulness. Again, there may be cases where even disclosing the type of organization would be problematic (though frankly, I fail to see why) but this should be the exception.

Supporter-giving: this may be a useful addition, though the name is confusing as it seems to describe a specific type of financing (or transaction) rather than a type of “organization”. Perhaps it should be “Individual” instead? It’s important to keep in mind that Org-Type is used for funders, implementing, accountable etc, so it needs to be neutral in terms of roles to work (if required) in all those contexts. “Individual” can apply to a funder (individual donations), an implementing partner (we do sign agreements with individuals) and so on. Combining Org-Type Individual with Org-Role Funding would identify an individual (private) donor. Whereas “Supporter-giving” as described would apply only to designate a funder but could not be used in conjonction with other Org-Role.

The original discussion was here:

Based on my experience of working with a wide range of organisations using IATI, and two new upcoming cohorts of organisations (Belgium government partners and DFID Tier 2 partners in 2018), I would like to propose for the following codes to be included in the organisation-type list:

Trade Union: Use for: trade union bodies and networks. Trade unions will be publishing to IATI for the Belgian government from 2018.

Social enterprise: Use for: organisations that are not NGOs and that are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit ( This is distinct from the private sector organisation type, which is applied to organisations that create and retain profit for their shareholders. This includes a growing number of UK and Tier 2 in-country organisations partnering with DFID from 2018.

Religious organisation: Use-case: faith-based organisations such as churches, that implement projects but are not registered NGOs or public bodies. Examples are partners receiving aid funds through faith-based organisations such as Tearfund or the Caritas network.

Civil Society Organisation: There’s a growing use/preference by donors and non-profit organisations for the term ‘Civil Society Organisation’ (CSO) over NGO. For example both DFID and the EU refer to CSOs eg. in a way that includes NGOs but extends it beyond just NGOs. Given the inclusion of new cohorts and the move towards funding Southern CSOs directly, my proposal is to replace the organisation types ‘international NGO’, ‘national NGO’, ‘regional NGO’ with one organisation type - civil society organisation.

Institute: Use for: organisations which are not government departments, public sector or universities (ie academic). Again, this particularly applies to think tanks and the new Belgian organisations that are between government and civil society. I think this one might need a clear definition.

I also support the following proposal:

Individual: See above. Use for: for individual supporters, or individual researchers implementing a research project - this scenario is typically found with the think tanks I work with. As Yohanna mentioned, the role can be clarifed as either ‘funding’ or ‘implementing’.

Having done quite a bit of data analysis recently using Organisation-Type data, I would caution against making the codelist too detailed. Publishers are clearly struggling with the current list - most don’t bother reporting a type, and among those who do several report erroneous types. Further breaking down some categories could worsen this problem, so there should be a clear user need for doing it. It would be good to hear from data users on this.

We should also be careful about making the list too different from the DAC’s Channel of Delivery list, for the reasons stated by Hermann in the previous thread. Donors reporting to the DAC already code partner organisations according to the DAC list and will have difficulties dealing with a conflicting list of Organisation Types. If anything, we should consider again making the IATI list more compatible with the DAC list, not less.

This being said, the proposed adoption of CSO in replacement of NGO could address some of the concerns raised by Sarah, as the term CSO usually includes trade union, social entreprise, religion organisation and so on. I personally find the International vs National CSO (or NGO) useful, but if everyone starts publishing Organisation Identifiers we would no longer need it - so agree with the removal.

Finally, re-reading the above threads, I noticed there was sometimes confusion between the Organisation Type (which is about the organisation itself) on the one hand, and the role of the organisation or the nature of the partnership or relationship on the other hand. The Organisation Type must remain related strictly to the legal status of the organisation, which doesn’t change even if the organisation assumes different roles or engages in various types of partnerships.

Hi Yohanna, thank you for your feedback - you make some important points, particularly around the low levels of use of the element organisation-type. Do you have more information about where this is happening - ie. reporting-org element, participating-org element, or at transaction element level? I have noticed two scenarios where this may be happening:

  1. Missing information or inconsistent mapping between a reporting organisation’s data and the organisation-type element.

  2. Organisational systems that collapse multiple organisation-type options into a few, not very helpful categories. I see this in donor data particularly at participating organisation level, so that I have to go to transaction level data to find out who the actual participating organisations are.

Lastly, if donors require partners, particularly CSO partners to publish, it is necessary for ownership and buy-in to see themselves reflected in the reporting-org/organisation-type model. I think you make an important point about CSOs being a more inclusive option than NGOs, however I wonder if there are still some organisations who would see themselves outside of that particular community? Does anyone have any reflections on how trade unions would react to being included within civil society?

I agree with @YohannaLoucheur. In additional to Yohanna’s comments I would like to reiterate from the previous thread, that the organisation-type code-list should reflect the DAC organisation-type code-list as close as possible. The DAC classifications are clear and internationally accepted.

Also agree with @YohannaLoucheur on making the Organisation Type code list not too detailed. Just replacing the current distinction with one classification “CSO” would i.m.o. lose valuable channel information though (e.g. are donors working preliminary with their ‘own’ donor country based NGO’s, or are the working directly with the developing country based NGO).

Would it be wise to look at the disaggregation requirements for monitoring progress on Charter for Change and Grand Bargain? If I understood C4C and/or Grand bargain signatories need to be able to report on and distinguish between:

  • Local NGOs (CSOs registered in developing country operating at sub national level)
  • National NGOs (CSOs registered in developing country operating at national level)
  • National NGOs affiliated international networks (CSOs registered in developing country but affiliated to international networks)
  • Local government (host government at sub national level)
  • National government ( host government at national level)
  • Red cross/Red crescent

I will check and update this post with more details. To avoid a double reporting thing, adding more granularity in the organization type code list would do the trick

I just lost 15 minutes chasing around different Discuss threads, GitHub issues and google docs - to eventually find this post from @Wendy:

The codes that will be added are:

11 Local Government
24 Partner country based NGO
71 Private Sector in Provider Country
72 Private Sector in Aid Recipient Country
73 Private Sector in Third Country
90 Other

So - that seems to be the action in 2.03.

More widely, it’d be great if someone / some people / some thing could curate and gather / close issues and threads - there are too many fragments to consider at a time vs available time to juggle them

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Thanks Steven, we are recoding accordingly!