I think a free text field makes sense.
In an ideal world it would be a codelist, but I think the range of different possible values is too big for this, and different organisations will have different conceptions of what they mean.
As a flavour of some of the potential issues with a code list:
- organisations can be more than one type of organisation - it’s perfectly possible for an organisation to be a registered charity, registered company and a community group at the same time
- there is often a mix of categories that are tightly/legally defined (“registered charity”/“industrial and provident society”) with those that are more descriptive with loose definitions (“social enterprise”/“community group”). There are lots of potential clashes - an organisation can be a “charity” but not a “registered charity”.
- categories often change depending on how organisations describe themselves - both new terms (eg “third sector” is now largely not used, but would have been common a while ago) and new legal forms (CIOs fairly recently)
That all being said, some standards/guidance for filling in the field would be helpful as it is a good way to understand where grants are going. It would be particularly useful to flag up grants that go to individuals, with schools, universities, local authorities being other categories that I’ve found useful to know. The Big Lottery Fund categories are not perfect but they may be a good place to start as BLF make grants to almost all types of organisations.