Sowing the seeds of a Data4Good community

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Last November we ran the UK’s first Data4Good Conference for the not-for-profit sector by the not-for-profit sector. It was a huge success.

The event sold out and more than 230 people created a real energy and buzz on the day. We were delighted to bring together the diversity of people and organisations we’d hoped for – not-for-profit leaders and funders, and data people from organisations of every size and (almost) every corner of the UK. We even had a few delegates from Belgium and Germany.

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Our first Data4Good conference, how did we do?

As conference partners with a passion for Data4Good we’d wanted to celebrate the pioneers at the forefront, and to showcase the breadth of new data and analytics applications for the benefit of society. We sought to inspire and encourage those setting out on their data journeys, explore the challenges, and raise awareness of the support available. Most importantly we wanted to connect people and organisations as a community.

The results speak for themselves: 85% had made new connections with people and organisations; 90% were more aware about support and resources available; 92% felt inspired about the possibilities for using data; and 81% had increased their knowledge of good practice.


The programme was packed with 42 amazing speakers from over 25 different not-for-profit organisations including: Impact Hub Birmingham; The British Science Association; The Cart Shed; The Joseph Rowntree Foundation; The Key; Oxfam; Odd Arts; The Children’s Society; Anthony Nolan Trust, The Brightspace Foundation, and the UK Health Forum.

Now for the sweet part. Mor Rubenstein from 360 Giving led our Curiosity and Cake session – a chance to explore some of the key themes that had emerged over the day, and of course, eat cake!

Now for the sweet part. Mor Rubenstein from 360 Giving led our Curiosity and Cake session – a chance to explore some of the key themes that had emerged over the day, and of course, eat cake!

They shared their Data4Good experience working in local, national and international contexts. However, what excited us more than anything was to hear from the people who attended. Our experimental ‘Curiosity and Cake’ session was an opportunity for everyone to speak, to share their questions, ideas and solutions.

Indeed all day long people were sharing their views, ideas and some great resources via social media. This collection of tweets about the day on Wakelet tells a really rich and positive story of the day as it unfolded, and really gets across the buzz and excitement we all felt to be part of it.

Who was there?

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NB the above is based on delegates and does not take account of multiple delegates from the same organisation.


And here’s a map showing where everyone came from.

Headlines from the feedback

We were particularly thrilled with how much people engaged. Indeed 54% of delegates were kind enough to give us their feedback (it’s so great to have an audience that really appreciates our thirst for data!). So with thanks and appreciation here’s a dashboard with some headlines from the Data4Good conference feedback including people’s suggestions on what we could improve.

What’s next?

In a few weeks Data Orchard and our nine partners (360Giving, DataKind UK, NCVO, NPC, Pro Bono Economics, RnR Organisation, Royal Statistical Society, Tech Trust, The Operational Research Society) are getting together to look to the future. Exploring how we can continue to work together to support this new Data4Good community of practice and strategically collaborate to build the sector’s capabilities. And, of course, making some decisions about the next Data4Good conference. Watch this space for more info soon.

We can’t finish the blogpost without saying a big thank you to Birmingham (Unique Venues) for hosting the event and to local partners RnR Organisation and West Midlands Funders Network for their immense support in making it a success. We intend to continue moving the conference around the country building our national community in every corner.

And of course, we absolutely can’t finish the blogpost without saying a huge thank you to our funders. In philanthropy, building organisations’ data capabilities is still way below the radar as a good cause. We’d like to thank our funders The Digital Impact programme at Stanford University’s Centre for Philanthropy and Civil Society and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for believing in us.

Stay in the loop

If you’re interested in becoming part of the Data4Good community and/or coming to future conferences sign up to our mailing list.

Data Orchard