How to make your charity data matter
Data is the life blood of most companies these days. It is used to measure progress, focus teams on initiatives and tasks that matter and as a point of proof that all the good work being done by your charity is having the desired affect.
Having said that data can also be overwhelming and confusing. In this post we explore how to make sense of data and make it more meaningful by using digital tools, crafting a compelling narrative, using outside resources, and more.
Defining your objectives is key
Data is powerful when appropriately contextualized. It can support charity work or highlight problems. However, there are many pitfalls to watch out for, such as failing to define data objectives or ignoring ethical considerations.
Giving it meaning by structuring it
Making data meaningful is about balance. To start, research the narrative and context of the data. Where is the data coming from? Defining the story backdrop helps place the figures. Good data storytelling involves analysing all the raw data you've gathered to confirm a hypothesis and determine the change you'd like to see from introducing your data story.
Focusing on what’s important
After formulating the narrative, start digging to find evidence. As a start, collect big data that includes information on service users and beneficiaries, engagement data, outcome information, impact data, and donor data. Data analytics as a strategy can inform what's already available.
Following the evidence
Predictive analytics can take that one step further by making an informed guess about the next trend. Reaching out to audiences for their views on new topics is popular, and charities engaging in collecting survey data have the advantage of fresh, tailored data. Digital tools are widely available.
Using tools to tell a story
Creativity counts when reporting on data. Dashboards and Infographics are an effective way to keep audiences interested. With a single image, an entire narrative comes across. The best examples blend eye-catching images with compelling numbers and commentary.
Popular data tools include Grow, Tableau, Chartr Canva, Piktochart and Infogram, each offering unique features to report and visualise data in meaningful ways.
To summarise, data can be an extremely valuable tool when used diligently and purposefully. It’s never too late to start investing in it the right way. Good luck with your efforts . We’re here to help.