According to the 2023 Charity Digital Skills report, 59% of charities want to use data and insights to improve their services or operations. This is understandable when you consider that harnessing the power of your data can have truly transformational benefits for your organisation. It is the key to unlock effective engagement with your audiences. 

To take steps towards improving how your organisation uses data, you first need to know where you are today. One way to assess how well your organisation utilises your data is by understanding data maturity.  

What is data maturity?

At a basic level, data maturity is a measure of an organisation’s ability to leverage their data.  

When an organisation is data mature, they treat data as a valuable asset, trusting it to make strategic decisions. Data is discoverable and accessible across the organisation, creating a single source of truth that can be harnessed by all.   

In comparison, low data maturity indicates valuable resources are being wasted finding and correcting low quality data, bringing an increased risk of decisions being based on untrustworthy data.  

Why is data maturity important?

How you manage your data determines whether it adds value to your organisation or if it adds risk and costs to your non-profit.  

Understanding where you are on the data maturity scale allows you to determine the opportunities available to you, and the steps you can take to become fully data mature. It ultimately can provide you with a roadmap for improving data use at your organisation.  

Data maturity models

A data maturity model or framework is a tool which describes the stages towards data maturity. It can help you identify the gaps in your data strategy that are preventing your organisation from reaching an optimum level of data maturity. 

A variety of data maturity models and frameworks exist however Data Orchard and DataKind UK have developed one specifically for non-profits. Their framework describes five stages of progress in data maturity for organisations (Unaware, Emerging, Learning, Developing, and Mastering). 

Important factors to enable data maturity

  1. Data – Starting with potentially the most obvious factor, the type of data you have, the sources you have gathered it from, and the quality of your data impact how well your organisation can trust and use your data to make data driven decisions.  
  2. Tools – Following on from the data itself, is the tools, software, and storage you use. These all influence the quality and useability of the data you hold.  
  3. Analysis – How you analyse, present and communicate your data impacts how powerful your data can be for your organisation, and whether you are able to harness it to drive your organisation forward.  
  4. Culture – Does your organisation have a data driven culture? Does your team understand the power of data? Are they encouraged to share, and utilise data to create a single source of truth for your organisation?  
  5. Leadership – Strongly linked with culture is leadership. Is your leadership investing in data and data alignment in your organisation? Are they driving a strong data driven culture?  


Understanding data maturity, and modelling how well your organisation harnesses data, will enable you to develop a roadmap to transform data into the most powerful asset your organisation holds.  

If you want to find out more about unlocking the power for data at your organisation, download our free guide Data fundamentals for successful non-profits.  

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