Only one in 20 charity leaders 'prioritising use of data'

A report into data maturity in the charity sector has found that only one in 20 organisations has leadership that is prioritising the use of data to support their organisation and mission.

It has also emerged that a fifth of charities are still at the “emerging stage” in their use of data, although a third are in more advanced stages of data development.

The findings have been published by consultancy Data Orchard and are based on 572 respondents from more than 200 charities.

Consultancy Data Orchard, which carried out the research, found that “only one in twenty organisations has leadership that prioritises data as a vital resource and understands how to use it to improve what the organisation does”.

Just under two thirds (63%) of charities have warned that their “leadership is not convinced about the value of data”.

Only a small minority (3%) of charity leaders are using past, present and forward-looking data to use decision making.

Meanwhile 8% of charity workers said their leadership “don’t use data for decision making at all” and only 28% say they have people with data analytics expertise within their leadership.

In addition, only around a quarter (24%) say their leaders are investing enough in data resources, for example people, skills, training and tools.

The report praises the “small, and we hope growing, number of leaders who are ahead of the curve” in their use of data.

“Those who really value and invest in their data assets and understand how to use these as a vital resource for their organisation’s cause. These will offer inspiration and learning that can accelerate the maturity of those following behind the curve," adds the report.

A webinar on the report’s findings is taking place on 23 September.

The research also found that most data in the charity sector is still on paper rather than available digitally.

Data Orchard, which surveyed charities that have been using its Data Maturity Assessment tool between October 2019 and December 2020, adds: “It will be interesting to monitor how paper-based approaches convert to digital approaches in data collection following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many needed to rapidly adapt their services and operations to digital approaches with plans to do so more in the future.”

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