Becoming RAD! Retention, Archiving and Disposal of Data

Barbara Paes

Civil society organisations almost always produce and/or gather data for their work, using it for a variety of projects or processes. As time goes by, projects end, teams change, and eventually data that was once purposely collected is no longer used on a regular basis. Becoming RAD (an acronym for Retention, Archiving and Disposal of data) is about the process of responsibly planning for what to do with data as it moves through a life cycle of usefulness. 

Developing RAD processes allows organisations to have a responsible and streamlined process for retaining, archiving and deleting data. At any organisation, this process helps ensure that information management practices are aligned with organisational values and in compliance with relevant data protection regulations.

A RAD process can answer questions like:

  • How long should I keep specific data on my computer?
  • How can I make sure I truly delete data that I’m no longer using?
  • What kinds of risk might partners face if I hold onto this data past its useful lifecycle?

In 2019, we supported FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund as they worked to identify opportunities to use data and technology more intentionally and in-line with their values. This year, we’ve been accompanying FRIDA on its way to becoming more RAD, working with the team as they implement new internal RAD processes. 

As part of this work, we developed a resource called “Becoming RAD – How to Retain, Archive and Dispose of data responsibly”, designed to support organisations taking the first steps towards becoming RAD.

In these tipsheets, you’ll find an introduction to RAD, exercises to support you in the process of incorporating RAD in your current workflow, and activities to help you and your team map your data and understand your data’s lifecycle. 

If becoming RAD sounds appealing to your organisation and you want to know how we can support you, you’re welcome to reach out to us at hello[at]