What is Open Data?
Open data¹ is publicly available data that can be universally and readily accessed, used and redistributed free of charge.
Around the world, open data is seen as making a contribution to the following:
- improving government, primarily by making it more accountable and efficient; empowering citizens
- facilitating more informed decision-making and enabling new forms of social movements
- creating new economic opportunities
- helping policymakers and others find solutions to large scale public problems.
The Irish Government embraces the principles of open data which means it is committed to making data held by public bodies more readily accessible online in open, free and reusable formats. As a result, we have been able to build the Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits from multiple publicly-available sources.
Benefacts and Open Data
Benefacts has identified almost 20,000 Irish nonprofits for which data is available from public sources. Sometimes the data is open, sometimes not - for example, most of the governance and financial data is acquired through intermediaries, and requires analysis and digitisation before it can be presented online.
We take this publicly available data and assemble it into our database, which is updated daily. Each Irish nonprofit is classified using an internationally-recognised standard, and assigned with a Benefacts ID. With the benefit of all this public open data, augmented by our own analysis, we have created the Benefacts Open Dataset.
Benefacts Open Data Files
The Benefacts Open Dataset lists almost 20,000 Irish nonprofits, with information (where available) under each of the following fields:
- Benefacts ID
- Registered name and other registered names (where applicable)
- Benefacts classification
- Name(s) of authorities by which the nonprofit is regulated
- Regulatory number(s)
- Link to nonprofit listing on Benefacts.ie
This is available in two alternative formats*:
- CSV, which means the data can be read by humans and easily imported into other programs such as MS Excel
- JSON, which is another human readable format that can also be consumed automatically by third party software
For more details, or if you have any queries on these files please get in touch.
*Published under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
THE BENEFACTS PUBLIC API
Benefacts has created a free service that will let you take a feed of data on Irish nonprofits directly from our database using a Public API (Application Programming Interface).
The Benefacts Public API provides a way for developers to access some of the data you see on benefacts.ie. This is a read-only Public API that will allow registered users to integrate Benefacts datasets into their own applications and systems. The scope of such integrations is limited only to your own imagination and includes practical use cases like smartphone applications, microsites, internal data applications with a focus on nonprofits, research applications, internal organisation data tracking applications and so on.
The Benefacts Public API will allow you to:
- search for a group of organisations – using a search term (such as “homelessness”, “Leitrim”), or you can search for a group of organisations using one or more of the search facets (“registered charity”, “compliant with the Governance Code”). If you haven’t got the technical capability to avail of this service, contact us and we’ll see if we can help.
- Retrieve data on a specific nonprofit organisation.
HOW DO I GET ACCESS TO THE BENEFACTS PUBLIC API?
As the Benefacts database is new, and the organisations listed here have never seen their data published in this way before, we are asking people to register for the Public API so that we can gain a better understanding of their uses for the data, and share this with our key stakeholders in the sector.
By signing up for our the Benefacts Public API, you can take a feed from our database to your own systems and applications. If you haven’t got the technical capability to avail of this service, contact us and we’ll see if we can help.