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.

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.

Get help with data

We know many charities and social enterprises are grappling with the challenges of data.

Data Orchard and DataKind provide support and services to help.

Data services for charities and social enterprises

Here are some of the things on offer following our Data Evolution project:

Here are some of the things on offer following our Data Evolution project:

Data Evolution seminar. Presentation of the findings of this research and facilitation of discussions with your organisation or network about data maturity and the future.

Data and analytics assessment. A confidential assessment of data maturity in your organisation using our newly developed tool.

Data Audit. Compilation of a register of data assets, evaluate your data and systems, and make recommendations for future action.

If you want help to collect the right data, analyse it in useful and meaningful ways, and build your skills, tools and capabilities so your data works for your cause contact Data Orchard now.

Data analysis projects

If your organisation is looking to move to the next stage of data maturity and wants to undertake a data analysis project then get in touch with DataKind UK.

They have a community of pro bono data scientists and specialise in managing data science projects with social sector organisations – in fact it’s all they do! 

Other services

As part of the project we also compiled a list of other services available to charities and/or social enterprises. You can view the list of data support providers now. We hope this will be an evolving list.

If you provide data support add your details to the list here add new data support providers directly.

Join the community

Data Orchard supports a community of social sector organisations with insights, news and events. It’s free to join the network. We’d really love it if you signed up.

 

About the project

Background

The Data Evolution project came about because two organisations, Data Orchard and DataKind UK, share a goal: ‘To help organisations working for good in the world, to use data to achieve greater impact.’

Having worked with many charities and social enterprises we noticed there were certain stages in their data development. Of course, no two organisations were the same, and there were multiple factors affecting their internal awareness and practices surrounding data. Yet, we suspected there was a pattern, a journey? We also observed that despite the emergence of powerful and transformational uses of data to address social, economic and environmental problems, it seemed very few had seized the opportunity. Indeed the majority seem to be grappling with more basic challenges. So, the Data Evolution project came about so we could better understand what the journey towards data maturity looked like and where social sector organisations are along the way.

The Data Evolution project was conducted between March 2016 and January 2017. It aimed to explore whether we could create a framework and tool for measuring data maturity in the social sector. We wanted to define, test and share a methodology that would:

– Enable organisations to measure their progress and plan next steps in their evolution to data maturity.

– Offer more straightforward diagnosis of needs, priorities, and capacities of social sector organisations (especially for providers of support around data like ours).

– Increase awareness about how to use data for good and a shared theory and language to talk about it.

Methodology

Details of the research methodology can be found in the full project report. In brief, the six key components of the research were:

– A review of existing Data Maturity models in different sectors.

– Two workshops attended by 56 social sector leaders and people in data-related roles.

– A national survey, with 200 respondents to get an indicative picture of the current state of data maturity in the sector.

– In depth data and analytics assessments involving interviews with 47 people from 12 organisations to dig deeper into the contours of data maturity and test out how to measure it.

– Creation of a prototype tool for assessing, scoring, and generating basic data maturity diagnostic/benchmarking reports.

– Design of a theoretical model and framework for describing the journey towards data maturity.

Data Orchard and DataKind UK

Data Orchard CIC is a social enterprise, operating nationally and based on the English/Welsh borders. DataKind UK is a national charity, based in London. It is part of the international DataKind network. Both came into being in 2013. The two organisations offer different services and approaches. DataKind brings the wonder of data science to the social sector by bringing together teams of pro bono data scientists from the private sector to work with charities on data science projects. Data Orchard specialises in research, statistics and data for social, economic and environmental good. It delivers consultancy and training to enable organisations to collect, share, analyse and present data.

The Team

There were many people involved in advising, supporting and delivering the project. Our special thanks to the following for their valuable contributions:

Project Team

– Sian Basker, Project Lead, Data Orchard

– Emma Prest, Project Lead, Data Evolution

– Madeleine Spinks, Senior Research Consultant, Data Orchard

– Ben Proctor, Communications Lead, Data Orchard

– Tony Cramp, Research Consultant, Data Orchard

– Tirza Abb, Graphic Designer, Think Blink Design

– Clem Attwood, Research Consultant, Data Orchard

– Daisy Bishop, Research Assistant, Data Orchard

Data Scientist Volunteer

– Stefania Garisto, Data Science Volunteer, PHD Student at Imperial College

Project Board

– Duncan Ross, Data and Analytics Director, TES Global (Founder/Chair DataKind UK)

– Alexandra Rehak, Practice Head of Internet of Things, OVUM

– Madeleine Thornton, Social Impact Analyst, Big Issue Invest

– Gaia Marcus, Project Manager, Youth Homelessness Data Bank, Centrepoint

– Ed Anderton, Strategy and Policy Manager, Access: The Foundation for Social Investment

Data Maturity Experts

– Jake Porway, Founder and Executive Director, DataKind, New York

– Duncan Ross, Data and Analytics Director, TES Global (Founder/Chair DataKind UK)

– Jonathan Sedar, Consulting Data Scientist Applied AI Ltd

– Shyann Seet, Independent Data and Analytics Advisor,

– Hilary Mason, Data Scientist, Fast Forward Labs

Funders

We are grateful to the four funders who contributed towards this research:

– NESTA

– Access: The Foundation for Social Investment

– The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

– Teradata

The data maturity framework

Our data maturity framework is designed to help you understand where your organisation is in terms of its use of data and where it could get to. You can download and use the model under a Creative Commons Licence.

Download the data maturity framework

(this version has been designed to be easier to use, alternative versions are available below)

download framework report

You can also or download the data maturity framework as a table in a MS Word file or download the framework as a table in a PDF file.

The framework was developed as part of research we undertook into data maturity in the social sector.

Keep in touch

We’d really like to hear from you if you use the model. Was it helpful? Were there things you’d like to change?
Please drop a line to info@dataorchard.co.uk with your experiences.

Join the community

Data Orchard supports a community of social sector organisations with insights, news and events. It’s free to join the network. We’d really love it if you signed up.

The final report

The Data Evolution project was a research project looking at data maturity in charities and social enterprises. It involved hundreds of people and organisations. We have published our final report for you to use in your organisation. Our reports are available to download and use under a Creative Commons licence.

Download the summary report

(for those who like pith and concision)

Front cover of summary report

Download the full report

(for people who like detail… and appendices)

Front cover of full report

The research led to the development of a data maturity framework for the voluntary sector.

Join the community

Data Orchard supports a community of social sector organisations with insights, news and events. It’s free to join the network. We’d really love it if you signed up.

Further help and support

If your organisation is looking to move to the next stage of data maturity and wants to undertake a data analysis project then get in touch with DataKind UK. They have a community of pro bono data scientists and specialise in managing data science projects with social sector organisations – in fact it’s all they do! contact@datakind.org.uk

If you would like a review of data maturity in your organisation from a friendly data specialist then get in touch with Data Orchard. They can help you review the data you have, work out how to collect the right data, how to analyse it, and how to manage and build so your data works for your cause. They also offer presentations and training.  info@dataorchard.co.uk

Countdown to 31 July 2016

We are asking people who work for any charity or social enterprise in England or Wales to spare us 5 minutes of their time to answer a few questions.

This will really help us to understand data use in the sector.

Everyone who takes part will have a chance to win £100 for their charity or social enterprise.

We are running a countdown campaign on Twitter and we’ve been using images shared by people under a Creative Commons licence.

Here’s the definitive list of images we have used with the licence and acknowledgements.

Thank you very much to all of these photographers from releasing their work under a Creative Commons licence.

14 14 by Stephan Mosel used under CC-BY-2.0

13 13 by Jon Dunning used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

12 12 by Pattie used under CC BY-SA 2.0

11 11 by russell davies used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Pino 10 10 by Manel used under CC BY-ND 2.0

9 9 by kyle kim used under CC BY-NC 2.0
8-Ball 8-ball by SmSm used under CC BY-2.0

7 7 by Luca Rossatoused under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

#6 #6 by Andrey used under CC BY 2.0
5 5 by duncan c used under CC BY-NC 2.0

4 4 by Neil Faz used under CC BY-NC 2.0
3 Zinnia 3 Zinnia by Swaminathan used under CC BY 2.0
2 2 by andrew steinmetz used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Crossing the Finish Line Crossing the finish line by will_cyclist used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Three questions trustees should ask about data

Black and white picture of an old fashioned operator juxtaposed with abstract infographics

The Data Evolution project is looking into data maturity in charities and social enterprises.

Ultimately we want to help social sector organisations make better use of data to plan, target and demonstrate the impact of their services.
There are many factors that make it easier or harder for organisations to become more sophisticated with data. It is clear that governance, strategy and culture play very important roles. And those are key responsibilities for the board of trustees.

But what can trustees usefully do to encourage their organisations to become more data driven?
Here are three questions we suggest you ask:

1) What does the data tell us*?

When discussing business plans, when holding strategy sessions, when looking at changes to services ask about the evidence and the data. It’s a simple question and the answer you get will depend on where your organisation is on the data journey.
Over time, if your keep asking, the answers may become fuller and more useful.
And your services, over time, are likely to become more effective, more efficient and better suited to your communities.

2) Can we review the data asset register?

This is a rather grand term for the idea that an effective organisation should keep a list of what data it holds, who is responsible for keeping each dataset up to date and how the organisation checks that the data is kept safe.
Simply compiling such a list can be a really useful task in itself. It can reveal hidden datasets, compiled in one team but not shared across other teams. It can reveal gaps in data.
Making this register something that the board reviews regularly can really help to raise the profile of data.

3) What do we know about the communities we are working with?

It’s not just about your data.

Increasing amounts of useful information are published by many organisations. In particular the Office for National Statistics publishes a wide range of high quality information about the makeup of communities. Local councils, health services and other charities also hold vital information and may publish it or agree to share it with you.

By looking at the context in which you deliver your services, you may spot opportunities you had missed, gaps that could be filled or very different ways to think about your services.

Asking more sophisticated questions

In the commercial sector there are a range of models that businesses can use to understand where they are in terms of effective use of data and, consequently, what the most sensible next steps would be.

We published a report about data maturity models as part of the Data Evolution project.

We didn’t find any models that can be directly applied to charities or social enterprises but we hope that our research will lead to the development of useful tools for the sector.

Help us now

You can help us with this work by completing this very short survey http://bit.ly/dataevolution and encouraging your colleagues to do the same.

*Or, if you want to be a strict grammarian “What do the data tell us?”

What do we mean when we talk about data?

Black and white photo of a tape cassette juxtaposed with modern infographics

Data

Here at the Data Evolution project we are pretty comfortable talking about data. It’s in the name of the project after all. And in the name of both of our partners (DataKind UK and Data Orchard CIC).

But what do we actually mean by that word ‘data’?

Broad definition

If you take our survey (please do take our survey). You’ll see this:

“When we say ‘data’ we have a broad definition. We include all the types of information your organisation might collect, store, analyse and use.”

For most charities and social enterprises this might include:

– information about your clients, service users or beneficiaries
– which services and activities service users receive
– how you engage with service users
– financial information
– details of staff and volunteers
– customer feedback/satisfaction
– outcomes/impact measures
– income generation (funding/sales/contracts)
– information about social needs/social markets held by you or other organisations (such as councils, the NHS, the government, academics, other networks)
– monitoring and evaluation
– key performance indicators.

And the list could go on.

Using data well

Both DataKind UK and Data Orchard CIC have seen that by examining these (and other) sets of data charities and social enterprises can make better decisions. Social sector organisations have used data to target their services more effectively, design new services and anticipate the needs of service users in the future.
There are some great examples such as the Mapping Hunger report from the Trussell Trust (opens a PDF)  the Data for good report from Nesta (opens a PDF)

We need your help

We are dedicated to helping charities and social enterprises develop the skills and tools necessary to make better use of data.

But to do that we need, you’ve guessed it: more data.

That’s why this very brief survey is really important to us.

If you work (paid or unpaid, in any role) for a charity or social enterprise registered in England or Wales please, please

Take part in our survey.

We’d really appreciate it

Is The Social Sector Data Driven? Or Data Driven Mad?

Those of us who run social enterprises and charities collect and use lots of data for all kinds of purposes. Many would argue there’s too much. Business experts tell us we could be sitting on a goldmine if only we could harness this amazing resource.  Yet the reality is that many are stumbling around in blizzards of data which is onerous and frustrating to collect and analyse, and often delivers information which isn’t meaningful, useful, or reliable for decision makers.

Excitingly we’ve found there are social sector organisations, big and small, using data to do powerful and transformational things. They say it’s helping them be smarter, more effective, and more influential. More often, social entrepreneurs and charity leaders tell us they know data is important and valuable, they just don’t know how to make it work for their cause and their business. They tell us they are grappling with all kinds of data (e.g. from spreadsheets, databases, CRM systems, survey tools, web and social media analytics…plus other research and information sources.). Indeed some still collect data on paper forms and keep them in filing cabinets.

“It’s difficult to make sense of the data. When we pull it all together it’s like comparing apples, oranges, and bananas”

“We spend so much time and energy collecting data to report to commissioners and funders we don’t have any capacity left to think about how data can shape our own future.”

“We collect lots of data but just haven’t got the skills or tools to analyse it. We’re data rich but information poor.”

We in the Data Evolution project are trying to find out where social enterprises are at on the data journey, what challenges you face and what help you need?

We’re asking as many social entrepreneurs and charity people as possible to complete a very short (5 minutes) online survey http://bit.ly/dataevolution. There is the chance to win £100 for your cause and the opportunity to access a more detailed analysis of where your organisation stands with data.

This post by Sian Basker from Data Orchard first appeared on LinkedIn.