Getting the Big Picture: Using Dashboards to track your data

Getting the Big Picture:
Using Dashboards to track
your data
Top Three Takeaways for Session:
• 1. Learn what a dashboard is
• 2. Understand what kind of data to track on a dashboard
• 3. Review best practices and how to develop a dashboard
Session Outline:
• Intros of speakers (5 minutes)
• Orientation to Dashboards (25 minutes)
• Hands-on Exercise – Break into 2 or 3 small groups. Each
group will be given a scenario around a nonprofit
organization and be asked to design a dashboard – (30
• Show & Tell – share ideas and discuss (30 minutes)
NTC 2008, New Orleans
what is a dashboard?
NTC 2008, New Orleans
visual tool
performance measures
why should I care?
• why do you care?
• Effective tool for Board members &
senior management
• Forces focus on what's important
• Efficient analysis
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what data should I track?
• relevant to the audience
• Board members and senior leadership
• Program leaders
• Advoacy
• Development
• Donor
• tells the story
• timely
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what is a dashboard?
Program 1
VP of Programs
Overall program goals
Program 2
Board & Sr. leadership
Organizational goals
Online Fundraising
VP of Development
Fundraising goals
Direct mail
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let’s look at some examples…
Unfortunately, I was not able to get permission to distribute the
dashboard samples I showed in the session. However, you can find
plenty of examples within the Resources listed on the last slide.
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best practices
Design to a
Use an
appropriate level
of detail
Keep design
•Don’t make the user scroll to see the whole picture
•If it’s too big to fit, maybe you need change the level of detail and
create sub-Dashboards.
•Don’t include measures without something to compare against
•e.g. goal, time, another measure
•Don’t make it so detailed you can’t see the big picture
•Don’t clutter with unnecessary information
•Limit to key indicators relevant for that level of dashboard, e.g. the
organization’s overall health and performance at the top level.
•Don’t distract the user with extraneous design elements
•Don’t go crazy with color
•Maximize your “data/ink ratio”
•Usability is key!
“Data-ink ratio” is a concept defined by Edward Tufte,
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
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• Chronicle of Philanthropy article about Kaboom
• Results Accountability Implementation Guide
• Benchmarking for Nonprofits: How to Measure, Manage, and
Improve Performance
Jason Saul, Fieldstone Alliance, 2004
• Information Dashboard Design,
The Effective Visual Communication of Data
Steven Few, O'Reilly, 2006
• The Nonprofit Dashboard, A Tool for Tracking Progress
Lawrence M. Butler, BoardSource, 2007
• The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Edward Tufte, Graphics Press, 2001
• State of Maryland's dashboard:
• Dashboards by Example:
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let’s build one…
We spent the rest of the session breaking into teams to build
dashboards for a series of imaginary nonprofits.
NTC 2008, New Orleans
NTC 2008, New Orleans
Lynn Labieniec, CEO
Beaconfire Consulting
[email protected]
Rusty Burwell, VP Data & Technology
American Lung Association
[email protected]