Scientists fine-tune our social sector definitions

Posted on 21 Dec 2022

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An updated version of the SmartyGrants social sector classification system, CLASSIE, continues the platform’s focus on the power of data science for good.

CLASSIE allows users to classify the social sector by organisation, subject, population, activity, and transaction type. CLASSIE 4.2 is the latest iteration of the taxonomy, which was originally released in 2014.

SmartyGrants makes extensive use of the system, as do sibling enterprises under the Our Community umbrella: donations platform GiveNow, grants database the Funding Centre and the Institute of Community Directors Australia’s Board Matching Service.

CLASSIE has also been adopted by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, which records several million hits annually, as well as the Centre for Social Impact, and charity assessment site ChangePath.

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SmartyGrants data scientist Nathan Mifsud said the latest update, the first for more than a year, provided a variety of changes responding to user needs, adjusting language and labels to reflect changing social norms and to streamline the system.

Dr Mifsud said user input had been valuable in ensuring the system remained up to date and relevant.

Among changes adding nuance and accuracy to the system are changed subject references to social housing, education, international activities, and heritage and history.

There were also changes to the population references related to teaching and research, gender diversity, LGBTIQA+ and sports.

The organisation-types listing was also revised to better reflect the role of social enterprises, sole traders, philanthropy, and early childhood education.

The changes will be incorporated into CLASSIEfier, which is an algorithm-based tool that can automatically classify grant applications using the CLASSIE taxonomy.

CLASSIEfier will be incorporated into SmartyGrants in early 2023, allowing users to automatically categorise both historical and new grant applications.