We have partnered with charities large and small across a wide range of issue areas, from large, national charities through to local food banks and hospices. We carefully select charity partners based on their organisational data maturity, the project feasibility and likely impact. We spend a significant amount of time and energy scoping projects and understanding an organisation’s needs ahead of an engagement, to maximise the likelihood that a project leads to sustainable change.
Any social change organisation can drop by and talk to a data expert for an hour during our monthly office hours sessions, whether their issue is operational or strategic, well-formed or speculative. We have provided advice and light touch support to more than 80 social change organisations through this scheme. Office hours is open to any non-profit organisation - charities, social enterprises, public sector bodies - based in the UK.
Some of the questions we've been asked at Office Hours
How can my organisation become more data-driven?
How can we use data in a way that respects our organisational values?
What data should we collect in order to make data-driven decisions in our organisation?
We run DataDives - intense, two-day hackathon style events - that bring together data scientists and social change organisations to work on specific challenges presented by the charities. Our volunteer community supports participant organisations to better understand both their own data and the potential for data science to increase their impact. A select group of our experienced Data Ambassador data scientist volunteers spend time over the six weeks prior to the event working with the charities to nail down the most important data questions, and prep and clean the data in advance. So far, we’ve held around 30 DataDives in the UK. Watch the video below to learn more.
Typical challenges addressed at a Dive
Who are our users / clients / beneficiaries?
What outcomes do our programmes have?
Can we predict risk/ need?
For charities that need a longer term engagement, we run DataCorps projects. These 6 to 12 month engagements bring together a social change organisation with a team of volunteers to work on ambitious data projects. Often these projects may kick off with a DataDive, the results of which then roll into a more complex data project. If your organisation is interested in a DataCorps project, please get in touch using our online form. Examples of some of our previous DataCorps projects:
The Welcome Centre
We worked with the Welcome Centre, a food bank in Huddersfield, to identify those most likely to need extra support. The resulting risk model helps their advisors to fast-track support to high-need cases. This project is a finalist in the European Data Science Awards 2019 for Best use of Data to achieve Social Impact. Learn more about the project in the video below and in this blog post.
Global Witness is an NGO working to confront corruption and the systems that enable it, including anonymous shell companies - often used to launder money and cover up corruption, fraud and tax evasion. Over seven months, a team of four pro bono data scientists helped Global Witness to produce the world’s first network graph mapping all UK public data on those who control corporate interests in the UK - more than 4.5 million companies and 4 million individual people. Find out more.
As well as supporting individual organisations, we also make use of our skills and experience for the social sector more broadly, and work to develop the data for good ecosystem in the UK and globally. In addition to the examples below, we also co-organised the inaugural Data4Good conference in 2018, with 230 delegates.
Data maturity framework
We developed the data maturity framework for social sector organisations looking to grow their data maturity (in partnership with Data Orchard).
Data ethics for health charities
We created guidance to help charities navigate the digital health ethics landscape, on behalf of the Association of Medical research charities
Supporting migrant and refugee charities
Working together with Superhighways, we supported migrant and refugee charities in London to make (better) use of data. This project was funded by the Greater London Authority.