Building data capabilities at the Bracken Trust

Stoma Bag Dress designed by a Bracken Trust service user to raise awareness about bowel cancer.

Stoma Bag Dress designed by a Bracken Trust service user to raise awareness about bowel cancer.

Case study: Data maturity

Client: The Bracken Trust
Date: 2018-19
Work: Developing data maturity


Data Orchard worked with The Bracken Trust over a twelve-month period to analyse and diagnose needs and develop a road-map for building the organisation’s data capabilities.

The Bracken Trust supports people and families affected by cancer in Powys, the largest county in Wales. They provide a range of practical support, information, emotional support, and complimentary therapies.


The Bracken Trust joined our ‘Becoming Data Savvy’ programme because they recognised they didn’t have good data. Or, to be precise, they had lots of data, but it wasn’t useful when it came to applying for grants.


Over the 12 month project, The Bracken Trust received the following consultancy, training, and support from Data Orchard:

  • Before and after organisation Data Maturity Assessment

  • Review of data, systems, tools, policies, and skills including a data audit

  • Creation of a hardware and software inventory

  • A 3-5 year roadmap for getting better with data including prioritised recommendations

  • Tailored ‘Impact Measurement’ training for senior staff

  • Data Protection training (joint course with other not-for-profit organisations)

  • Draft Theory of Change

  • Participation in the UK’s first national Data4Good Conference

  • Advice on options and providers of Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) and secure cloud file sharing systems.


At the end of the project, these were they key benefits reported by the lead manager:

  • An independent external analysis of the charity’s data maturity by experts in the field.

  • A better understanding of the different types of data for measuring impact and which ones the organisation is and isn’t collecting.

  • Helpful advice, guidance and information resources – impartial and product independent.

  • Raising the (sometime difficult) questions that need asking.

  • Providing the opportunity to talk to other people in the not-for-profit sector who were in, or had been, in a similar situation (at Data Orchard’s first national Data4Good conference in Birmingham).


These are some of the changes that have happened as a result of Data Orchard’s support:

  • Allocated budget to invest in a new database/CRM system.

  • Identified staff to lead on marketing, communications and IT systems management.

  • Cleaned and recycled old computers and established plans for ongoing equipment replacement and renewal.

  • Explored potential database/CRM systems that might be useful.

  • Tightened up policies and practice on data protection and security.

I think the most useful thing to us was to get some independent external analysis of where our organisation is at with data and some impartial advice on how to improve.
— Ann Williams, Manager, The Bracken Trust


The Bracken Trust plan to do further work on their theory of change and clarifying their data needs before procuring a new CRM system.