Methodology (pre-2017)

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.