Supporting a question-centered approach for
working with data that leads to doing

Our core approach

We focus on questions so we move away from data for the sake of data. Data isn’t the goal, action with data is.Developing good questions is a process that requires skill and precision. We've designed a simple, effective method to help socially-driven organisations prioritise questions that lead to actionable insights. Our approach ensures that the questions align with your strategy and fall within the 'Goldilocks' level - not too granular and not too abstract.

The Data for Action approach. Starting with questions, validating them and then identifying how answers might be found through data.

Our services

Data for Action offers comprehensive support tailored for socially-driven organisations through:1. Training: Tailored programmes for individuals and peer groups;
2. Direct consultancy: Expert guidance on data strategy, approaches, impact, culture, analysis, and full end-to-end data projects;
3. Research: Research projects to understand and improve the data ecosystem for social purpose;
4. Resources: Open-source tools and knowledge sharing to improve the data commons and adoption of the Data for Action approach.

Our principles

Open by Default: We advocate for making resources, information, tools and data openly available by default, rather than keeping it hidden or restricted. We need to have a good reason NOT to make it open. We believe in contributing to the commons because we think transparency helps better decision making and improves what we do.Approach over outputs: We believe in focusing on the process and approach used to achieve a goal, rather than solely fixating on the end result or output. We value experimentation, learning and iterative development over simply delivering a final product. Organisations are their people and the best organisations embed approaches.Re-use and re-purpose: We encourage the use of existing resources, rather than creating new ones. For us this can mean using open-source software, re-purposing existing data, or building upon existing ideas. We encourage others to re-use and re-purpose our work through Creative Commons licenses.No bullshit: Honesty, sincerity and authenticity. It is a call to be transparent and straightforward, without any hidden agenda or manipulation.Everyone matters: We think that everyone's perspectives and contributions are not only valuable but vital to good work, so when we work with you we think it should involve people from right across your organisationAlways learning: We are always learning and developing what we do. We don’t have all the answers but we know ways to try to find them.

Who we are

Tom French

Hello. I'm Tom French.I have over a decade of experience working with and for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises, both as an ‘on-the-ground’ worker but also as a researcher, data analyst and evaluator.As a freelancer, I support people to develop data, insight and questioning strategies in a practical, open way. I work with not for profit and public sector organisations to take simple steps towards using insight better so that they can tell their story clearly with evidence of impact as well as inform future delivery.I set up and coordinate Sheffield Data for Good.I'm also a musician.

Tom Watson

Hello I'm the other Tom.I have over a decade of experience working in and with charities, social enterprise and community business.I also run The Good Ship which focuses on digital and design support.I've worked within national infrastructure, led charities, founded and secured investment for successful community enterprises.I'm a charity trustee, a school governor and an award winning social entrepreneur.When not working I like running in the mountains and eating pizza.


We have a number of free-to-use resources for you to try and adapt. These have been designed to support people who would like to embed the Data for Action approach within their organisation or with others.These resources are catalogued on our Notion page. Feel free to have a play and let us know how you get on. And if you need any support using them, give us a shout.

Contact us

Data for Action Ltd.
Company number 14713654