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5 Steps to Simple Data Visualization for Nonprofits

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Published on 04 Jul 2018 / In Non-profits & Activism

Data visualization is an effective way to communicate your nonprofits impact because humans are able to process images 60,000x faster than we can process text. Thus, images are a powerful tool while conveying your nonprofits message.

You will learn:
-how to make data visualizations on Google Sheets
-how to choose the right type of graph
-how to customize and organize a more effective visualization
-how to embed and use this interactive data viz

We know that it is not always the most accessible thing to for non-coders, but luckily, we have found a simple way for data viz using Google Sheets, which makes it extremely simple, accessible, and easy to update.

1. Use the right type of graph (01:03)

What’s your goal with the viz? Is it to highlight relationships or to show composition? Nailing down these questions will help you decide on which graph to use. Here are the options on Google Sheets, and how we would recommend using them:

Gauge chart: show goal and progress
Map: show breadth of your programs
Motion chart: emphasize progress/growth over time

2. Organize and clean (01:39)

After choosing your graph type, Google Sheets will generate that chart for you, but all its features may not be relevant in your situation. Some questions that you may want to ask during this stage include:

Are background lines necessary?
Does the sorting order make sense?

Remove or sort things more clearly to match your needs after answering these questions.

3. Format labels and legends (02:09)

The next step is to go in even closer and edit the labels and legends so that people can better understand what exactly the chart is showing. This is the stage that you should:

Add title and name of axis
Remove legend if necessary

4. Customize design (02:22)

Although Google Sheets does not have the best tools to manipulate the colors since there is not a custom option, you can get pretty close by trying to match your colors to the palette provided.

5. Publish and embed (02:43)

Now just publish this graph on Google Sheets. Once you've done that, you can copy the embed code and paste it onto your site. Embedding the interactive graph is the same process as embedding a Youtube video, so it's

You can assemble these graphs together and tie them with a narrative to show the impact that your nonprofit has made. Get out there are start making some awesome graphs to show off your great work!
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Whole Whale is a digital agency that leverages data and technology to increase the impact of nonprofits. In the same way the Inuits used every part of whale, Whole Whale leverages existing resources to see, "What else can this do for us?"

By using data analysis, digital strategy, web development, and training, WW builds a 'Data Culture' within every nonprofit organization they work with.

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