Coming together to face the social sector’s data challenges: the data for good festival 2021

 Coming together to face the social sector’s data challenges: the data for good festival 2021

Following the success of the inaugural 2018 Data4Good conference, more than 10 data-focused organisations and nonprofits are coming together to host a second event in spring 2021.

In 2018, the conference connected leaders and practitioners to explore how nonprofits could adapt and excel at their use of data in order to improve their services. The inaugural event in 2018 showed an appetite for data use in the social sector. The challenges that we came together to address then are still present now. In fact, the pandemic has highlighted crucial gaps where data is not being gathered, stored, and shared effectively, or at all. It has also shone a light on the need to better understand and use the data that these services produce.

In 2021, we are expanding that experience into a series of virtual events to create ‘The Data for Good Festival’. The festival will showcase those organisations who are at the forefront of, harnessing data to design more effective and efficient services, achieve better outcomes, and deliver greater impact. Organisations will share best practice on what data to collect, showcasing new digital tools for data management and analysis, and signposting where to find help and resources – there will be something for everyone whether you’re just dipping your toe in the data pool or you’re a fully-fledged data warrior.

Why are we doing this?
Though there are countless examples of brilliant data use within the social sector, the sector as a whole grapples with poor data literacy and low data maturity. Many organisations face lots of barriers, which result in them not asking the right questions with their data and not going beyond their funder’s requirements for data use.

The festival responds to these common barriers that the social sector faces:

  • Lack of awareness of what’s possible with data
  • Lack of shared learning across the sector, or to a closed culture of data use
  • Poor availability of datasets, and barriers to sharing data across organisations
  • Lack of leadership and advocacy for data use
  • Lack of in-house data capability within organisations

Who is it for?
The festival is aimed at those who work for charities, social enterprises, funders and public sector bodies, and who are using or want to use data. There’ll be practical sessions on data use, analysis and data science; sessions for senior leadership and those who lead on strategy at their organisations, and showcases where others share what they’ve been up to. Some content will be right for those who are new to using data, others will be for those who are already well on their data journey.

Who is involved?
This festival will be hosted by a partnership of capacity builders and non-profits working collaboratively to shape the event. It is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and from ticket revenue.


Want to get involved?

We’d love to hear from you if you are interested in

  • Attending the festival – email us and we’ll make sure you are the first to know when tickets go on sale!
  • Sharing your experiences about using data in the social sector
  • Becoming a partner organisation, co-hosting the festival
  • Supporting the festival as a sponsor or event partner

For these and any other queries, simply email us at and share your details with us.

We’re developing plans quickly and across a multitude of partners, there will be much more to tell you soon, including what you can expect to learn, how the programme will look and everything in between.