I work for a company (in Australia) whose staff have been supporting costs of running an Orphanage for several years now.

All the money has been coming from their personal contribution, I am a developer that only contributed by making website and/or some minor technical database/software solutions.

From my understanding Open Data has been for transparency of expenditure in Government. But can it be used for having transparency of expenditure in Non Profit institutions? (The real aim is to have a transparent cost structure so more people would consider donations as they can see what the money is being spent on.)

Please send any links that might seem helpful in how to have a transparent Not-For Profit organisation that can is openly funded (using Open Data or not).

  • I'm not sure this question is within scope for the site. Are you asking about how to open your data? It's also vague. Can you specify what you're looking for in your request? Are you interested in how to use the data, or how to create a transparent nonprofit, or something else entirely?
    – RCA
    Aug 18, 2013 at 23:42
  • @rcackerman : Yes, The orphanage is a non-profit organisation. Running by private donation of very few contributors. For it to survive on it's own, having data and expenditures in a transparent way should help ( I think ). That way anyone who might be interested in donating can see where the money goes. Currently 100% of the money is spend directly on children and salaries of the local staff only. Imagine if you could open source an Orphanage where all the expenditures where transparent, to show how cost effective it is running.
    – jimjim
    Aug 19, 2013 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


It's an interesting question. Salaries are the large expenditure. Will the staff be upset if their salaries are public?

I think transparency in a non-profit is essential, especially for charities. If the staff don't want their salaries public, perhaps share the average or median salary as part of an expenditure breakdown.

If you are interested to increase the number of donors, consider fund-raising for specific projects by using crowd-sourcing. One example is http://www.indiegogo.com, where the donations can be matched to specific projects. For donation level you can also have small gifts of appreciation. You can link each amount to specific costs in the organization (i.e. $100 buys one month of ABC for XYZ). This setup allows for giving in levels ($10,$100,$1000+) that appeals to a broad audience (but mostly local).

  • There is no need to name the people, or even their exact amount, but that indeed positions are cost x amount of dollars (Ghanaian) , how many children there are and how efficiently it is being run. Not specifically want more money, but to have it run like an open source project, who wants to contribute can and will be able to see where the money is going. We don't have anyone getting paid non local rates (i.e. no fat cats).
    – jimjim
    Feb 26, 2014 at 9:47
  • 1
    In the US the non-profits release a yearly financial statement. See, for example, haitianhealthfoundation.org/wp-content/upload/2013/08/… This kind of document outlines the expenditures and also includes an external auditor's review. That statement gets collected by Charity Navigator for comparison between charities (charitynavigator.org/…) Each expenditure could be further detailed so that donors could see where the money is going.
    – philshem
    Feb 26, 2014 at 10:13

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