Responsible data practices

(Book Cover Photo

For 100 years foundations and nonprofits have developed practices to use time and money for good.

For 50 years, investors have been developing ways to use investment capital for environmental and social goals.

For about 10 years, (some) foundations have been trying to use both their investments and grantmaking funds to achieve their missions.

Now, it's time to do this with data.

Managing data to achieve mission will be a defining characteristic of philanthropy and civil society going forward. Right now, we are learning now how to do this.

I define civil society as the place where we voluntarily associate to use our private resources for public benefit. This translates into digital civil society relying on "opt in" defaults. Individuals must choose to participate.

The Responsible Data Forum is working on practical applications and guidance about using data well. Their new primer on Ways to practice responsible development data is a critical resource for all of civil society and philanthropy. Get it here.


Tom Walker said...

Hi Lucy,

Just to add that the book is very much a first effort - and that the Responsible Data Forum is looking for help to make it better.

You can comment and make suggestions on the content directly at We'd also love to hear if and how it's been used, so please keep sharing it with anyone who might find it useful.


Lucy Bernholz said...

Thanks Tom - will spread the word. Thanks for the incredible resource - spent a bunch of time with it over the weekend - Lucy