Inciter | Blog Masonry
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Data. Driven.

Those are two words you may not hear together a lot. And they are two words that are the underpinning of everything we do at Inciter. What do we do? We help clients thrive by measuring your impact, which helps you better communicate your value that in turn, bolsters your fundraising. Measure Impact. Maybe you have to conduct an evaluation as part of a grant that you received. Or, perhaps your Board has been asking about results, or your staff is starting to wonder how effective a program is. No matter the reason, assessing your programs and activities can help you know where to make improvements, show others what you’ve accomplished, and be accountable to funders. Communicate. If you want to move people, you need stories. And if you want to move skeptics, you need data....

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Enter, Inciter.

Have you ever known just what to do to make a project work, but you couldn’t find the right tools to make it happen? We've been there – frustrated by data management software options because we didn't love what we saw, so we built our own custom software - named Incite - to gather, manage, and report on data. Enter our company, Inciter. Inciter’s mission is to make it easy for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies to harness data and use it to communicate findings to funders, stakeholders and staff. Inciter helps clients measure impact, communicate, and fundraise through research, visualization, and data systems. Inciter helps clients change the world by using data to tell the story of their impact, raise funds, and advocate for social change. We do this by helping them...

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We’ve Changed Our Name! We Are Now Doing Business as Inciter

We have exciting news to share with you - we’ve changed our name! We are now doing business as Inciter. We are undertaking the same quality work, with the same great staff, and a fun new product – Incite - which means expanded opportunities for all.<  Established in 2003 as Carson Research Consulting, Inciter is still a small, woman-owned firm located in Baltimore, MD. When you work with Inciter, you continue to get a team of experienced researchers, evaluators, and custom software designers. While we are located on the East Coast, we work across the country. Inciter’s mission is to make it easy for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies to harness data and use it to communicate findings to funders, stakeholders, and staff. Inciter has the knowledge and experience to help clients do...

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How Your Data Can Tell a (True) Story

by Jill & MandiInformation graphics and visualization expert Alberto Cairo caused a bit of a stir last fall when he bluntly tweeted his opinion that data journalism and visualization should stop using the term “storytelling”. "Storytelling" is a term that ought to be abandoned in journalism, #dataviz, data, etc. It has no meaning and leads to the wrong mindset— Alberto Cairo (@albertocairo) September 11, 2017  In the replies, he subsequently clarified that the word need not be abandoned if used properly, but should be considered problematic and approached with caution. However, he later went on to double-down on his initial sentiments earlier this year in another tweet, again eliciting much consternation and gnashing of teeth from his followers.  An argument based on evidence and careful reasoning is not a...

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Evaluating Advocacy Efforts: How Do You Measure Social Change?

Here at CRC, we're always fans of measuring the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. And that includes measuring advocacy efforts. You may think that measuring advocacy efforts and social change movements is impossible. It's definitely true that it can be challenging to do because evaluating advocacy is very different from evaluating direct service work. The theory of change is going to be more complex, and it's harder to identify the direct links from your advocacy activities to people's responses.  Collecting information about your campaigns and activities often involves tracking web analytics and responses to mail and other campaigns directly. But before you start putting together a dashboard of your Google Analytics data, start by thinking about what you want to know and why. To really...

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We are Hiring a Research Assistant!

Do you love colored pens? Making to do lists? Do you like the idea of working with social service programs and nonprofits that help make people’s lives better? Do you have a killer work ethic, but seek a relaxed work environment? Carson Research Consulting could be for you, if. . . • You are described by friends and co-workers as "kick ass," in the nicest possible way. You are competent, creative, trustworthy, engaging, organized, and an all-around people-person.• You love Baltimore and the idea of working in and engaging Baltimore community organizations and residents.• You love numbers and data, but you understand that people who provide social services don’t, and often make a mess of them. And you’d like to be one that helps them sort it out.• You are a fiend for details, enjoy entering and...

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Thank You and Happy New Year!

A Message From Team CRC All of us at CRC wish to send out a hearty THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEAR to our many clients, partners, collaborators, and friends. We thank you for helping our firm to have another successful year in 2017, in which we were honored to help organizations and agencies -- large and small, local and national -- to demonstrate and tell their stories of the important work they do. We look forward to continuing our work with you in the new year! We'll remember 2017 for many reasons related to CRC's projects, but a very few not totally work-related highlights were: Learning to row thanks to Taj and the Baltimore Rowing Club at Learn to Row Day. Celebrating Taj's 50th birthday! Sheila, Dana, and Mandi presenting to a packed house...

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Why I Love Interactive Dashboards

by Sheila Data visualization involves the presentation of data in a graphical format with the goal of communicating complex information more clearly and efficiently to audiences. Effective visualizations make complex data more accessible, understandable, and usable. And sometimes even fun to look at! I like visualizing data because like many others, I’m a visual learner. If you consider that 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual, and that the brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text, then you start to understand why visualizing complex data is beneficial in both research and evaluation. That’s exactly why I LOVE dashboards.  What’s a dashboard?A dashboard is a data visualization tool that displays the status of metrics and key performance indicators for programs or organizations. In dashboards, tables, graphs, and charts are created...

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Work smarter, not harder, with Python

by Mandi Here at CRC, we’ve been focused on working smarter, not harder, by utilizing different skills and adding new tools to our tool belt. One of those tools is Python, and it has been a lifesaver for streamlining our data processes, saving us time and increasing productivity.   What is Python? Python is a simple, yet powerful programming language that is relatively easy to learn. It can be used for a variety of things, including to create practical programs that automate tasks on your computer, as a support language for software developers, and in web and internet development. It’s often compared to other programming languages like C++, Java, and JavaScript. Python is compatible with many operating systems including specialized and/or older operating systems like Solaris and Linux.   Why use Python?  Python has...

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Data Modeling 101: The What? Why? and When?

by Dana  What is a Data Model? In semi-technical terms, “A data model is a set of symbols and text used for communicating a precise representation of an information landscape.” (Hoberman, 2016, p.13). In layman’s terms (i.e., my interpretation) a data model is similar to a blueprint used when building a house. It contains lines and shapes denoting the location of where the different rooms will be located, and where the different pipes and wirings will go, so that the builders can use it as reference during the construction of the house.  The process of creating a data model is called data modeling.   3 Types of Data Models   1. Conceptual data models (CMDs): Higher level model that includes only business rules and concepts with a defined scope. This model is created...

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