All organisations collect data and have for decades. They collected it for themselves and their reporting to donors. As they have gone digital, the amount of data has increased and so has those they share it with. Strategic meetings have been had talking about the value of ‘their‘ data. How they can use it better and so on. And there is enormous value to the data they collect and hold.
However, while they ask questions about themselves, their donors, and sometimes about the impact they are having in the communities they work with, they miss out on a critical question. They rarely ask what is the value of the data they collect to or for the people from whom they collect it.
There are many conversations about the misuse of data. Some conversations about the missed use of data. But almost no conversations about the missed value of data.
Perhaps it’s time to change this. Perhaps it’s time to add a third question. What is the value of the dataset to our organisation? To our donors, supporters, and partners? And to the communities about whom the data is?
The choice is up to us.