For our pilot project, we wrote to 20 leading UK-based think tanks and campaigns from across the political spectrum with the following request:
We are inviting yours and other leading think tanks (and political campaigns with a strong public policy or research focus) to respond to the following questions:
Please state the end date of your last financial year, and for that year:
1) Supply your organisation's total income.
2) Supply the names of individuals and organisations that donated (or provided project funding or services worth) £5000 or more, and the amount they gave. If this information is already available online, please send a URL.*
3) Please add any additional comments (including, for example, plans to improve funding transparency in the future).
*In relation to question 2, if you are willing to provide a list of donors/funders above a higher threshold only, please do so and state the threshold. If you are willing to provide a list of organisational donors only, please do so and state that this is the case.
We will publish all responses online and award each organisation a transparency rating based on its response.
We then rated each organisation, using the following weighting:
- Declares total annual income: 5 points.
- Names each funder who gave £5,000 or more during the year:
Lists organisational funders only: 15 points.
Lists organisational and individual funders: 25 points.
- Discloses amount given by each funder: 10 points if listed by exact amount; 5-8 points if listed by band (depending on width of band).
- Where organisations gave some but not all of the information requested in each category, points were awarded proportionately.
Grades were awarded as follows:
A = 35+ points; B = 25-34 points; C = 10-24 points; D = 1-9 points; E = 0 points.
As this is very much a pilot project, we will review methodology and scoring on a regular basis. We are also very keen to receive your feedback on how we run future studies, and which organisations we should include.