Funders and data for good: regional funders network at the first national Data4Good conference

Background

RnR Organisation was delighted to see the involvement of WM Funders Network (WMFN) in the 1st national data4good conference in 2018.

We saw it as a potential opportunity for others attending the conference to influence WMFN members in how they may use data in their own organisations. During the event, some funder representative attendees expressed an increased interest in the uses of data, even if their organisation hasn’t currently got staff resource to engage in such development.

Smaller funders, data and data sharing

Smaller funders do not always see the benefits of data, and data sharing, and WMFN also has members for whom the cost of paying to attend events like this might be an issue. Combining attendance at this important event as part of their annual membership package was a bonus for them.

Engagement opportunities for conference delegates

Access to fifteen local funder representatives meant the opportunity for other conference attendees to, amongst other things:

Expose funders to messages about what conference organising partners and other delegates would like them to do with their data and the data from their beneficiaries
Encourage funders to share their data and demonstrate how to do it
Encourage funders to get charities/groups they fund to share their data
Encourage collaboration (WMFN will continue to support member organisations in the West Midlands, including around data, and other regional funders networks could do likewise)
Impact evidence of including smaller funders

Future steps with funders and data for good

As conference partners and others have written about the merits to the sector of getting more funders to share and explore their data, thus supporting the decision to encourage funders to attend the conference, this decision enabled a wider and better-informed breadth of discussion to take place.

We hope to see an increasing number of funders at future data for good events.

Reading

There is good impact evidence to back up the participation of small funders with information in articles like these:

Exploring the gold mine of funders’ data, 360 Giving 8 Dec 2016

5 ways data can improve your grant-making, NPC, 3 Nov 2016

What does it take for charities to harness the power of data?, Katie Boswell, NPC, 5 June 2017

Exploring Open Data On Charity Funding, David Kane, NCVO, 15 Dec 2015

Grant-making data and small charities, ACF, 22 June 2017

Wasting less and giving more: charities and funders unite with better data, Suraj Vadgama, ODI, 11 Jan 2017

How Funders Reduce “Nonprofit Starvation” with Tech Funding & Data Best Practices, Exponent Partners, Guidestar, 11 Nov 2016

Sharing Data Responsibly – How And Why Do Human Rights Funders Share Data? Tom Walker, The Engine Room, 27 Feb 2018

How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good, Kendra Schreiner and Jordan Junge, Alliance for social investment and philanthropy worldwide,15 Aug 2018

Five principles for applying data science for social good, Jake Porway, Datakind, 1 Oct 2015