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The TechSoup Digital
Storytelling Challenge partnered with the first CommBuild tweet chat of
April to look at storytelling for communities. More specifically, the CommBuild
tweet chat was about using data visualization for community storytelling. Joing
the chat to provide data visualization expertise was guest expert Matt
Scharpnick, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Elefint Designs.
Every community has a story; for nonprofits that story is
the organization's mission. Stories can also be found in the multitudes of
information created through the work an organization does. The story can be the
reason for the origins of a community, its needs, or its progress towards addressing
those needs. A community's story can identify or clarify issues that are not
immediately evident when looking at data. When using data to tell a story, it’s
important to understand what information matters to your community.
Data visualization presents an opportunity to tell stories
that foster community building in a different and compelling manner. Data
visualization is useful when an organization has a large amount of data that would
be overwhelming to share in full. Data visualization is also useful for making
complex ideas relatable to a lay audience. Visualizing a story from your data
first requires finding a compelling story within your data. It should be noted,
however, that not all data lends itself to visualization and some information
is best explained via text.
Once you identify the story within the data the next step is
to find a way to make it visual. Charts, graphs, or maps are a common and
practical way to relay information. And practical and common doesn’t have to be
boring as the visualization of VolunteerMatch's
annual report demonstrates. Organizations looking for help or ideas to use
data visualization can consult resources such as Drawing by the Numbers
or Data Visualization
More data visualization and digital storytelling tools can
also be found by visiting TechSoup's
Digital Storytelling Challenge resources. And stay tuned for upcoming TechSoup
Digital Storytelling Challenge events on the offical challenge site.
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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