Data Visualization

Using Data Products to Measure Non-Profit Missional Success

Image showing work by the red cross and non profit organizations

What is the one goal for most non-profit organizations? They want people to believe in their mission. When people believe in the mission, they support the mission through advocacy, donations, and volunteering

Easier said than done. The biggest challenge is gaining financial support. Even though financial giving has been on an upward trend the last couple of years according to Charity Navigator, it is still a struggle to get financial commitment. What are some steps to alleviate that struggle? According to an article on The Guardian, “The science behind why people give money to charity”, people give to causes that have the highest impact. They go on to say that “facts and figures are less attractive than narratives.” Non-profits know that proof of impact makes a difference, so they use numbers and charts to try to show the impact. The article says that people are more likely to support an organization financially based on impactful stories.

So this begs the question, do “facts and figures” matter if we should focus on the story? The answer is yes. Instead of presenting the data as the primary focus and drowning your givers with pie charts and line graphs, change your mindset and use the data as a tool to make the story impactful. This can be done by creating data products, which is a way to use data to provide value and impact, to tell the story without compromising the effectiveness of the mission.

In order to have to have an effective data product that integrates into the story, the non-profit must:

  • Understand the type and end goal of the story, as well as what they want people to do
  • Look to their pool of data and extract the right data to support the story
  • Visualize the story and data seamlessly
  • Measure the impact

If data is being used as the primary means to draw people into your mission, but without a storyline, you may be pushing people away with “facts and figures”. It is time to put the priority on the story and create a data product that uses your most valuable data to invite people into your mission and lead them into action.

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