Tag Archives: data visualization

The value of storyboarding

I’ve been using the phrase “think it through” a lot in conversations with my manager recently.  All of us are working through business questions and some of these questions are more complex than they appear on the surface.  As an analyst, I need to set aside time to think through my work approach and also my work product approach.  How am I going to communicate the information I find in a way that’s easy for everyone else to understand?

 

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In the past year I’ve been sketching more and more and I’ve been reading more articles that seem to emphasize this low-tech approach to organizing your thoughts before starting to compile a work product.  Makes sense to me.

 

Here’s a slide deck from Mico Yuk from this year’s PASS Business Analytics Conference discussing storyboarding.

 

In all honesty, I’ve been looking for a “how-to” storyboard guide for my own use for a while now and haven’t found one.  In my quest to advance my skills I start with a measurement that I’ve been asked to communicate:  the headline.  Then I start asking myself questions about that measurement.  The kind of questions I would expect other people to be curious about — the kind of questions I’m curious about myself.  Then I conduct more analyses to get the answers and incorporate them in the same space, supporting the headline, using visual, easy-to-understand icons whenever possible.

 

Paper and pen is my best friend for sketching out the order in which the reader will see and digest information.

 

My journey toward data visualization enlightenment is still in progress, but with a little help from the experts and friends like you, I keep moving forward.  Please share your data viz success story with me if you would!

 

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Bookmark this – US metro economic indicators

If you work in a nonprofit organization, national economic indicators are part of the big picture.  These indicators paint a picture of economic disparities and highlight the areas of greatest need for families struggling to maintain their stability and independence. These indicators influence current and future demand for education, healthcare, housing, transportation and social services.  Thankfully, the Urban Institute compiles an incredible amount of insightful and useful data, dashboard style.  Their dashboard includes data compiled for 366 of the country’s most densely populated cities.  Give it a try!

 

 

Drill-down information for Houston–

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This dashboard is amazing!

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Case study – Technology innovations at DePaul University

Another 2015 CASE award winner, DePaul University’s Advancement Services wowed the judging committee with their impressive technology tools all designed to facilitate development officer self-service in an intuitive and transparent manner.

This is just one of the sample screen shots from their interactive reporting tool–

 

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To browse through their full presentation, click on the image above and prepare to be amazed!

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Bookmark this — Interactive index of data viz resources

298 resources all in one place!  You can select by tool categories like charting, mapping or web-based.

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Thanks to the creative folks at Visualising data!

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Break down the characteristics of a million dollar donor

A recent blog post from the Million Dollar list caught my eye.

 

 

 

This information is probably not what I’d expect, so I feel compelled to update my set of internal beliefs about philanthropic behavior.

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How to make an incredible area chart

Courtesy of Chandoo.org, let’s all ramp up our area chart effectiveness in Excel.  Area charts can give an ordinary line chart more visual impact, and with these techniques, the charts can become even more information rich, leading to greater insights.  After all, isn’t that the key to a good data visualization?

 

 

 

 

First you examine and analyze your data to determine where to create your segments.  Then format it this way in Excel to generate your area chart.

 

 

 

Click on either of the images above to read Chandoo’s discussion.  He even gives us a preformatted sample that we can practice with.  To get the sample click here.

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Urban legend

I’ve worked with a few charismatic people that have solid reputations in nonprofit fundraising.  Since I am a relative newcomer to the industry (just 12 years of nonprofit experience), as compared with some of my colleagues, I believed what I heard as fact.  Several years ago I heard the term donor fatigue.  It was new to me, but I quickly understood the concept.  For a while.  And then I looked more closely.  This is an example of what I saw.

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That’s a count of (our) major gift donor households for fiscal year 2014 that fall into one of 3 categories:  first time donors at the major gift level, first time major gift donors who have donated previously at a lower level, and repeat major gift donors.  Guess what the red color represents?

Correct!  82% of our major gift donor households in 2014 supported us previously at a major gift level.  It is because they are committed to the cause and choose to direct their philanthropic support toward our mission.

 

I suspect the same is true with your major gift donor population.  But don’t take my word for it.  Check for yourself.  Then re-run the counts every year.  Your committed donors are seeking a way to make a difference and that is why they give to you.  Don’t stop asking them to support a mission that they clearly love.  Don’t believe the urban legend of donor fatigue.

 

Recently I’ve read some great articles on the topic.  Here’s one by Simone Joyaux.  Here’s one by Maeve Strathy.  In addition, I learned that the consulting group Kimbia is presently conducting a brief survey on opinions pertaining to donor fatigue.  If you’d like to participate, click here.

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