Let’s say you’re a mid-sized organization with a desire for more integrated and meaningful reports. You have four different software packages that are each tracking some aspect of the constituents you deal with – for instance, your donors, activists, several different types of clients, and volunteers. Each system is working pretty well by itself, but it’s very hard to look across the organization to get a full picture. How likely is it that a volunteer will donate? What is the full value of services you're providing to each client? What kind of constituent is most likely to be a lifelong donor? They’re interesting questions, but almost impossible to determine at the moment.
Does your organization maintain several database systems, each built by a different vendor, consultant, or employee? Do these systems communicate poorly with one another, or not at all? If an active supporter's address changes, does someone have to log on to the member management system, the donor management system, and the volunteer management system to update each one separately? Do you have multiple applications all sharing access to the same data? Are you collecting mountains of data in multiple systems but finding it difficult to extract aggregate, summary information you can use to inform your organization's decisions?
When we say Data Analysis, it is common for us casual users to initially think about Excel. Quoting one speaker I encountered before, we often 'live in spreadsheets' when it comes to anything related to data, generating libraries worth of spreadsheets for all important sets of information that needs to be recorded.
Ginny Mies shares how telling your data visually is now easier than ever with the help of web-based infographic tools. She recently had to create an infographic for a project. Having very basic design skills, she was looking for something intuitive and easy to learn that could create an attractive final product. After surveying many of the programs out there, she found a few that meet these requirements. Ginny writes:
Tools for Creating Infographics, Charts, and Diagrams
This inaugural post highlights the big nonprofit technology stories of 2012, including making websites viewable on mobile phones, using mobile phones more in the workplace, cloud computing, social media fundraising, foundations and Microsoft donations, greater self-sufficiency among NGOs in developing countries, and some cutting edge things like hackathons. This was an original December blog post by TechSoup's Jim Lynch:
A content management system (CMS) makes updating your nonprofit’s website much easier — but what if yours is no good?
Ever wondered how SharePoint can be used for Internet? Extranet? Intranet? And what the differences are? In this webinar, see first-hand the value of social features, team collaboration and SharePoint in real life.
The Tech Beginner’s Guide is a workbook designed to help small and medium sized NGOs understand the basics of ICT. It is the culmination of over 10 years of on-the-ground work, and expert research by TechSoup It is designed to give you the right amount of relevant and actionable information, so you can focus your time on your mission, rather than addressing the ICT needs of your office and employees.
Download it here.
Learn how your nonprofit can be more data-driven in your operations.
Microsoft’s Excel, part of the Microsoft Office suite of products, has long been a useful piece of software for compiling and understanding the relationships between data. Excel 2010 introduces a tool that makes it even easier to see trends in your nonprofit or library’s data using visual representations; sparklines.