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Data noun [definition]: Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis

For years, the for-profit world has been using data to create more efficient businesses.  In the social sector, for-purpose organisations haven’t always had the money, infrastructure or the skills to leverage the mountains of data collected from service delivery, beneficiaries or processes.

The for-purpose sector has come to realise the value of investing in data science, to shed light on what is working and what is not.  To use data to ask and answer complex questions and try to solve for social issues in a different way.
Philanthropists, government and other stakeholders are starting to invest in the sector’s capacity by funding data-led projects to explore ways and opportunities to effect positive social change.

Below is a compilation of recent data research studies and who’s involved, to show what insights are now available (click headings to find out more).


The Xfactor Collective, with the support of Equity Trustees developed the National Impact+Need Research Study during COVID19.  The study sought to understand the impact of COVID19 on the social sector and where organisations needed help.  The project illustrated the need to advocate for the wellbeing, sustainability and viability

of our sector and its most precious resource, its people.

Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector

Launched in mid 2020, Centre for Social Impact (CSI) wanted to take the ‘pulse’ of the sector to uncover how it is faring in a range of areas such as financial, technological, human capital, adaptation, and of course, meeting its purpose.  Australia has never kept track of its for-purpose sector on a national level, over time, and CSI want to understand the stressors, the impacts of policy changes, and the challenges for Australia's charities, not-for-profits, community groups, social enterprises, and for-purpose organisations.

The research provides the much needed evidence to help the sector re-tool for a more inclusive and sustainable future.
The first major report was released in December 2020 and Wave 2 is currently underway.

Future of Home

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) have just released their new book ‘the future of home’ which captures their thinking what our future housing system could look like.  Our homes give us stability and control over our lives. They give us access to a community of people that know, value, need and support us. They provide a space to find sanctuary and a safe place to express ourselves.

But Australia’s housing system doesn’t work well for everyone. To improve the system, we need solutions beyond the current focus on supply and affordability. We need a housing system that puts people – not buildings – at the heart of the process, which recognises the huge social and financial benefits that are possible with such a model.

TACSI is an independent social enterprise working on projects and initiatives across Australia. Their commitment is to develop new and better ways to build social and economic prosperity for all.  TACSI receives support from Equity Trustees’ Sector Capacity Building Fund as well as the Wicking Trust, managed by Equity Trustees.

Partners in Recovery

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been great concern about the future of the Australian charity sector, and the people it supports, given the economic, health and social crises currently unfolding.

Charities’ capacity to respond to financial and operational shocks will vary drastically. It will be some time yet before there is sufficient data to be able to determine the full impact. However, decisions made now will strongly affect whether charities are COVID-19 casualties or partners in recovery, and those decisions need to be based on the best available information.

Partners in Recovery research series from Social Ventures Australia and the Centre for Social Impact explores the unique social and economic contribution charities make to Australian society and how they are affected by a multitude of factors including service disruption, falling income, rising demand and higher operating costs.

In addition, the latest of four reports, Vital Support – building resilient charities was launched in May 2021 and is available at the link.