Case Studies

Work Programme 2 has developed a series of practice-based organisational case studies which show how some Scottish charities are using data to support their strategic and operational decision-making.  You can download all the case studies together here: Case Studies Engaging with Data Colour

The Scottish Charities: Engaging with Data Case Studies series comprises the following organisational case studies:

  • How data is helping one small charity ‘work smarter’: COPE Scotland CaseStudy- COPE Scotland
  • Developing data capability in a local charity: Fife Gingerbread CaseStudy- Fife Gingerbread
  • Using data to enhance volunteer management and the volunteer experience: Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) CaseStudy CHSS
  • Enhancing performance and the customer experience: The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) CaseStudy- NTS
  • Embedding data in strategic and operational decision-making: The Scottish Youth Hostels Association (SYHA) CaseStudy- SYHA

It is anticipated that the case studies will be of interest at Board level, as well as at Executive and other management levels. They illustrate how some Scottish charities are developing their data capabilities and are using data to enhance their strategic and operational decisions, performance, and other activities.

The case studies, which include both smaller as well as larger Scottish charities, are intended to be illustrative and not comprehensive or definitive. Their purpose is simply to assist charities and other third sector organisations to begin to reflect on their current capabilities and to consider whether (and how) they may wish to enhance these. They may help in starting or taking forward conversations about the value of data, and the challenges as well as the opportunities to which it gives rise. Case studies are most helpful when people bring their own experiences to the situations described in the cases and people using these case studies are encouraged to do this.

The case studies may be used in conjunction with, or independently of the ‘Conversations about your Charity’s Data Needs- Evaluation Toolkit’ series.
Each case study begins with a set of questions (B) and ends with a set of corresponding insights (J) generated by the case. These are simply to guide conversations and their use is entirely optional. People may use them, ignore them, change them, or add to them as suits their own requirements.

The case studies are the outcome of a combination of literature reviewing and empirical research involving interviews with key actors and analysis of in-house and publicly available web-based materials.

The project has also developed a toolkit which charities and other third sector organisations can use to start a conversation about their data needs and related capabilities and 

Authorship and acknowledgements

The case studies would not have been possible without the support of the charities involved. Dr Burt would like to thank everyone who so generously gave of their time to speak with her. This was greatly appreciated.
The case study series was developed and authored by Dr Eleanor Burt, School of Management, University of St Andrews, in collaboration with Dr Shirley Otto, Independent Consultant, as part of Work Programme 2 of the Scottish Civil Society Data Partnership Programme (SCSDPP). Dr Burt leads on Work Programme 2. The SCSDPP is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Award reference ES/M010465/1).


Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the author. All persons using this evaluation tool are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by the author's copyright.
For further information please contact Dr Eleanor Burt, School of Management, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK, KY16 9SS. Email: