You need stuff? For free? We’ve got some free stuff. 

If you’re a charity and you’re thinking about data, tech, and systems, we’ve gathered these resources to help you find your way.

How To Choose a Database - the book

choose arrow decision

We’ve been working with charities for almost 20 years and we’ve talked to thousands of them in that time, helping them to manage their data.

We’ve condensed that experience into a short book to help you through the process. We help you think about five key questions:

  1. Why do you need one? What’s the problem a database/CRM will solve?
  2. Who’s involved – who will be affected?
  3. What data and functionality do you need?
  4. When does it need to happen?
  5. How much do you need to invest?

You can download the e-book here for free, and our accompanying data map template here. We’re not asking for money or email addresses or anything. But if you do find it useful we’d love to know, and if there are ways we could improve it, we’d love to know that too.

What Data Do You Need?

Effective organisations look after their resources: including their data. The first step is knowing what you have, and why. For new or changing organisations, you may need to think about what you’ll need, too.

Mapping this out doesn’t need to take a long time, but it is an essential first step to making sure you are complying with the law, and making the most of
your data.

This is part one in our three-part guide to help smaller UK charities ensure they are looking after their data effectively. Each guide is accompanied by a
workbook which you can use to record your responses and keep as part of your compliance records.

Download the e-book and accompanying workbook for free.

Lawful Data - a guide to help you process data lawfully

The Data Protection Act 2018 requires that you process data about people lawfully. That places a set of  responsibilities on you, and you need to be able to show that you’ve met them.

In our previous guide, we helped small charities identify the data they need to fulfil their mission. This guide helps you take the next step, focusing on establishing the lawful basis for processing the data you need.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the official source for guidance, and they have a lot that’s detailed and helpful. 

This guide is a general introduction to the regulations, and some resources to help you with your own compliance. It helps you think through what lawful basis for processing you are relying on to process the data you use. If you don’t have a documented basis for processing, you are processing data unlawfully.

Download the e-book and accompanying workbook for free.

How To Store Your Data

If you’ve followed parts one and two of our data guide, you should now have a good sense of the data you have, or need, and be confident that you can process it lawfully. The next question is whether the way you are storing that data is good enough.

What ‘good enough’ means will depend. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) places some requirements on you to ensure data is secured appropriately. You also need to think about the types of data you have, and what you need to do with them. The appropriate technology will need to be secure and make your data work for you.

This guide, part three in the series, gives an overview of the requirements of the DPA, and links to some useful advice. We also offer some suggestions of the types of system that may be suitable for a small charity, and some of the pros and cons of each.

Download the e-book and accompanying workbook for free.

More resources

More cool stuff for new charities:

Data Orchard help organisations (charities) get better with data:

NCVO have lots of help and guidance, including about digital issues:

The Lloyds Bank Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation are two funders that provide additional funding to their grant recipients to help them with organisational development, including databases and digital. We’ve worked with Lloyds with dozens of their recipients over the years.

Triangle Consulting have produced dozens of Outcome Stars to help you track the impact you’re having. These are well tested and widely recognised:

Small Charity Week has a range of free or affordable courses on all sorts of topics:

Our friends at Street Smart in Belgium have a range of free training and free resources for youth workers (but useful for others too). They also have an app similar to Lamplight that’s particularly good for outreach based youth work.