Three pieces of good news

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Do you wonder if your charity could be making better use of its data?

Do you think planning in your social enterprise could be improved through better use of evidence and analysis?

Do you look at the task of becoming more sophisticated in the use of data and find it so daunting you can’t imagine where to start?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then we have three pieces of good news for you.

You are not alone.

We spent much of last year looking into how charities and social enterprises make use of data. We found some organisations doing really advanced things with data and we found some only just starting out on the journey.

Hundreds of people took part in an online survey and we worked in-depth with many others. We’ve published the details of our report online. It’s free to download and use under a Creative Commons licence.

We have found that data is really important, it is the lifeblood of organisations and it is possible to do really smart, sophisticated things with it (and you don’t need to be a big organisation to use data well). Those that invest the resources and effort reap rich rewards. It’s hard work and complex to become more “data mature”. Which brings us to the next piece of good news.

We’ve broken down data maturity into bite-sized chunks.

Having looked at different organisations doing different things with data we’ve built a “data maturity framework” of social sector organisations. This framework (hopefully) makes it easier to understand where your organisation is right now and, just as crucially, where it could be.

You can download and use the data maturity framework under a Creative Commons licence and we really hope you do.

The framework should help organisations like yours understand how to get better at using data and to measure progress. Getting better at using data is an ongoing process, you can get a little bit better every day and a lot better every year.

Help is out there

Maybe our report and framework are all you need to get going. If so, that’s really great.

But if you need a little more help, it is available. As part of this project we started a list of organisations that can help you and your organisation with data. That list will stay online and organisations can add themselves to it.

And of course we (DataKind UK and Data Orchard) will continue deliver projects and services to charities and social enterprises to help them make better use of data. You can find out more here.

Thank you

We have to say a huge thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project. So it’s a massive thank you to the project team, to everyone who took part in the research, to experts who gave us sage advice and help steer and promote the project. And an especially big thank you to our funders without whom this project would not have been possible.

What’s next?

We will reflect on the findings and use them to inform how we design and deliver future services.

The data maturity framework will be used as part of our efforts to diagnose and support social sector organisations to improve their use of data.

We will continue to raise awareness of the power and potential of data.

You can help us by sharing our research findings and the data maturity framework with your colleagues and partners and by giving us your feedback.

We really hope infrastructure organisations will use our research to consider how they can improve the support they offer around data in the organisations they support.

At a strategic level we hope people will take the opportunity to consider how we can improve the collective data assets OF the sector, the data ABOUT the sector and open/available data FOR the sector.

That’s it

That’s it.

We’ve done it.

The Data Evolution Project has finished.