3 proven ways to secure funding for your data governance program


One of the challenges for starting a data governance program is a lack of funding. Luckily for us, there are 3 proven ways to secure funding for a data governance program. More details in the video below:

1. Business case

A strong start of a program is to put together a business case for it. Among other things, it outlines the organization’s need of a data governance program, but more about that in another article. Requesting funding through this business case makes your ask stronger. This is because the document itself argues how the program supports your organization’s data and information needs. To make it even a more compelling ask, you need to showcase it as an investment model. Simply put, you will ask the sponsor(s) to invest resources into a program which will yield the organization even more savings due to :

  • increased quality of data
  • improvements in data creation, acquisition, maintenance, dissemination, destruction
  • efficiencies in the data to information processes
  • reduced risk in data privacy and security breaches, etc.

This way you’re not just asking for funding to be poured into yet another program, but you’re asking for the sponsor(s) to make an investment which will yield savings of a value greater than the investment. Who does not like that prospect?

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2. IT project

Another strategy is to look at what projects are currently on the roadmap, which would require data governance as a key success factor and add it as a budgeted line item. Projects could include an enterprise data-warehouse, a master data management and data integration projects between two or more key enterprise systems, an upgrade or replacement of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), an implementation of a Business Intelligence program, an change in data architecture, etc. Based on the scope of these projects, make sure you have one or more budget line items dedicated for data governance. This should mainly be people resources, but tools, especially for data integration, data transformation, data profiling, data modeling, data dictionary, etc. are also very useful.

3. Business project

Ok, everything is a business project when you think about it, as it is the business needs driving it (at least it should be), but I want to separate those projects tied to systems and data flows (i.e. IT projects) from those tied to processes or non-technical deliverables. Here are some examples of such projects:

  • Increase of patient flow efficiencies in a healthcare institution
  • Delivery of a survey towards a country’s citizens to determine current demographics
  • A marketing or a multi-year fundraising campaign
  • A merger of two or more departments
  • A new partnership with a new organization or the acquisition of one
  • Ensuring a regulatory compliance, such as GDPRRead on how data classification can help with GDPR compliance

These are usually tactical or strategic projects, but with a data components which need data governance. In fact, the project scope document or charter should flag a lack of data governance as a high risk leading to project failure.


Remember that funding is important, but it should not be a one-time spend. You need to ensure it fuels an ongoing budget. That is why the first option is ideal as it provides a direct funding commitment towards a program. The other two are project-based and even though they can be multi-year projects, they do have an end date and you will need to look for other avenues of funding once the projects are over. If your project has an ongoing maintenance budget, you can add your data governance line in there. If it does not, give the business case another try. Ideally by the time the projects are completed, the benefits of your data governance program will be apparent to your stakeholders and program sponsor(s) and you will easily secure further funding commitments.


business case, funding, strategy, video

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About the author 

George Firican

George Firican is the Director of Data Governance and Business Intelligence at the University of British Columbia, which is ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. His passion for data led him towards award-winning program implementations in the data governance, data quality, and business intelligence fields. Due to his desire for continuous improvement and knowledge sharing, he founded LightsOnData, a website which offers free templates, definitions, best practices, articles and other useful resources to help with data governance and data management questions and challenges. He also has over twelve years of project management and business/technical analysis experience in the higher education, fundraising, software and web development, and e-commerce industries.

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