Your work is vital. We are raising funds to support it.
The work social-benefit organizations do is powered by data. Data guide day-to-day decisions and make a case for why donors and
volunteers should lend their support. Yet as much as we recognize the
importance of data, for many it’s difficult to know how to use data in a
Recently, TechSoup Global partnered with The Guardian for a
seminar titled "Transforming
Your Charity by Bringing Your Data to Life." TechSoup kept the
conversation going by hosting a tweet chat on
data for social-benefit organizations. Tweet chat participants were invited
to share how their organizations were using data and what tools they use and to
ask their own questions.
The chat specifically centered on "big
data," a term that refers to collecting, managing, and analyzing large
amounts of data. An increasing range of technology
tools and data experts interested in working with social-benefit
organizations are making it easier for organizations to use their data for the
public good. Organizations can use this information to help communities, obtain
funding, and make their work transparent.
Useful data are available everywhere from an organization’s
financial transactions to web analytics to
the number of constituents served. Effectively using these data starts with
making the shift to a data-driven culture.
In a data-driven culture, an organization identifies what data matters,
implements an ongoing process of collection, and reviews data on a regular
basis. Continuous data collection and review allows organizations to become nimble and make changes as needed in their
operations for better impact.
Another aspect of effectively using data requires making the data
easy to understand for audiences beyond your staff, such as your board or
the public. Traditionally, organizations have tapped into their data to create annual reports. Organizations that want to move beyond this should consider using visual imagery to translate big data into
something anyone can understand.
Charts, graphs, and infographics can bring
numbers to life and make a bolder statement than words often can. Another
advantage of visuals is that they are often easy to share – broadening the
reach of your data. IBM’s Many Eyes, Data-Driven Documents, Gephi,
or Visual.ly are some of the online tools available for creating compelling
graphs and simple infographics. Some CRM (customer relationship management)
software also includes tools to do this. Visit the TechSoup
catalog to learn more about CRM software and other technology tools available
to bring your organization’s data to life.
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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