Data Governance is an organizational strategy for documenting and implementing basic rules and controls around how your organization interacts with your data.
Reasons to Establish a Data Governance policy:
- Manage risk by protecting your organization from data loss due to employee turnover or simple forgetfulness
- Increase the quality and therefore the trustworthiness of your data
- Reduce the cost of operation
There are four questions to ask yourself when determining where your organization stands with data governance:
- Data Availability: Is your data accessible and easy to distill when it’s needed?
- Data Integrity: Is your data current, and can it be trusted?
- Data Usability: Can your data be leveraged to make sound decisions?
- Data Stewardship¹: Are you following privacy and compliance requirements?
If your answer is NO to any of these questions, consider starting a Data Governance initiative within your organization.
Data Management is the day-to-day process and specific actions your organization takes to uphold your Data Governance Policy. A data management policy is the operational procedure that outlines how to accumulate, analyze, apply and act on your data.
- Accumulating data: The “how-to” behind collecting and documenting quality, clean, consistent, and relevant data.
- Analyzing data: The “how-to” behind providing empirical proof of your organizational efforts and identifying trends and patterns.
- Applying your data: Defines “how-to” use your data to create accurate intelligence to convert into strategic and actionable items.
- Acting on your data: Defines “how-to” use your data to define the next steps and goals for individuals and your organization.
Start thinking about how you would define these four data management areas in your organization.
For more information about how to create a Data Governance policy: Templates Folder
Sound data, supported by data governance and management efforts, allows your organization to trust the information that you capture. This information can then be used to increase engagement among supporters and secure additional funding. Trustworthy data enables your organization to:
- Track constituents and the important, nuanced information related to each individual
- Communicate effectively with your community
- Produce targeted campaigns and programs
- Build a deeper relationship, increase connection
- Execute strategic fundraising and fund management
- Protect against knowledge loss due to employee turnover
- Create accurate projections resulting in more strategic organizational decisions
Good data saves your organization time and money; it also enables more effective programs and fundraising efforts, which will increase the long-term capacity of your organization. Because of its indisputable worth to all operational functions, data maintains a monetary value and is considered an asset. As is true with any monetary asset, spending a proportional amount of staff time and organizational bandwidth to steward this data takes time and effort but will give your organization the long-term capabilities for rapid growth and scalability.
Folkes, Cathy. “Understanding Nonprofit Data Governance.” LinkedIn SlideShare, Data Best Practices, 22 July 2013, www.slideshare.net/CathyFolkesCFRE/understanding-nonprofit-data-governance.
Haguewood, Jeffrey. “5 Basic Fundraising Performance Metrics to Start Measuring Today.” Sidekick Solutions, Sidekick Solutions, 13 June 2013, www.sidekicksolutionsllc.com/4-as-of-nonprofit-data-management.
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