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Monitoring Program Capacity

Over the past couple of blog entries, Taj has shared lessons learned about design thinking that you can apply to your work. Taj will be continuing that series soon, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a related example of creating a simple, but effective, visualization for a client. Background A local agency wanted to track client capacity on a monthly basis. This agency oversees services to pregnant women across multiple program locations, so tracking such information is necessary not only for their oversight of services, but also for sound management of dollars received from their funderEach service program under our client’s purview has an individualized contracted site capacity (i.e., maximum number of clients that they could serve), and dealt with an influx of clients enrolling and withdrawing from services each...

Numbers Count: How to Use Data for More Effective Fundraising

Let’s face it, fundraising can be one of the most dreaded aspects of running a nonprofit. A lot of people feel unprepared and apprehensive about it; asking for money is hard. But there are ways to make it a little easier, and more effective.That’s where data come in.Perhaps you think of data and fundraising as natural complements to each other. Perhaps you never considered using data in your fundraising efforts. And perhaps you aren’t even sure what qualifies as data. Well, I’m here to help. In this post I’ll go over how you can use data to support and enhance your fundraising efforts for more successful results.Why Even Use Data?You might be wondering, “Isn’t fundraising all about emotional appeal? So why even use data at all?” It’s true that people...

Design & Evaluation: Radical Collaboration

by Taj (Pardon our silence over these past several months! After our unintentional hiatus, we’re be getting back into our blogging routine, sharing evaluation related news, tips, and tricks on a somewhat monthly basis. Starting with today’s post, the first in a series of posts about design and evaluation...

Tips & Tricks for Child Focus Groups, Part 2

by Mandi Singleton  (Note: this post is the second part of a two-part series.) As I mentioned in the my last blog post, one of my favorite things about my job at CRC is conducting focus groups. Focus groups with elementary school students can be the most challenging and the most fun for me as a focus group facilitator. Here in part two of my discussion of tips & tricks for doing focus groups with kids, I get into strategies that make for effective and enjoyable groups. 5. Make it fun with hands-on-activities! Studies show that incorporating hands-on activities in focus groups with school-aged children increases participation and stimulates discussion.In focus groups I've conducted, I led children in several hands-on activities as part of data collection. During one activity, children were given...

Tips & Tricks for Child Focus Groups, Part 1

by Mandi SingletonOne of my favorite things about my job is conducting focus groups. I enjoy the opportunity it gives me to interact with people, capturing and learning from their thoughts and feelings about experiences they’ve had. While at CRC I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate a series of focus groups with elementary school students. Although many of my projects are education-related, I had never done a group with children so young before. The focus groups I’d done in the past involved middle grade students, parents, and school staff, so the thought of conducting focus groups with elementary school students made me a little nervous. I could just imagine rambunctious 6 to 10 year olds, hopped up on sugar and far too excited to break away from their schools’ typical routines and...

Visual Reports

Several weeks ago, one of our clients came to us with a challenge: find compelling ways to present 10 years of grantmaking data. The client wanted us to tell their story and present the data in a way that people at all levels (data nerds and non-data nerds) at their organization could easily understand.I was tasked with analyzing the data and worked closely with the CRC dataviz experts, Taj and Matthew, to come up with the different visuals for the report. I'm no dataviz expert but here's what I learned: Client feedback is important: Take time to hear your client's thoughts on the visualizations you are creating, you want to make sure you are meeting your client's expectations. Patience is key: I spent a lot of time creating and re-creating multiple charts and graphs. It...

What Breastfeeding in the U.S. Looks Like

CRC's dataviz team recently completed a comprehensive and beautiful infographic documenting breastfeeding statistics in the United States.Our hope is that this infographic can play a part in spreading the word about this important issue.  From a public health standpoint, the medical benefits of breastfeeding are well established.* Breast milk provides babies with all the necessary fats, proteins, and vitamins they need for healthy growth and development. Among other benefits, antibodies in breast milk can help babies fight infections and reduce the risk developing asthma and allergies. Moms who breastfeed experience benefits too. Breastfeeding can help mom lose her pregnancy weight (through the calories it burns) and can protect her against breast and ovarian cancers. In addition to the physical benefits, time spent breastfeeding also helps nurture the bond between mom and...

We LOVE Maps: Map out your summer!

As we've said in the past, we at CRC LOVE MAPS. They're useful and (often) beautiful, helping us to make all kinds of decisions in research and daily life. Some of you have been following our interest in maps at the Baltimore DataMind blog, but to make sure more of our readers get to see that content, starting with this post we're "folding" the BDM blog in here. So now, along with the evaluation news, data tricks, and dataviz tips you've come to expect from CRC's blog, expect to learn more about making and using maps. We also hope to show you a lot of just plain cool ones, starting with this one, created by our own Matthew Earls. Baltimoreans' love of festivals is possibly even greater than our love of maps!...

A Word About Baltimore City’s Snappy Budget Graphic….

 Infographics are all the rage. They are beautiful, engaging, and fun to look at. This one is no exception:At first glance, it looks like a lot of fun. The Finance Office has done something unexpected, which is trying to make understanding the budget of Baltimore City a bit easier by using data visualization. It is likely to be successful in that more people will look at this than might read a website that breaks out funding by categories, or talks about the property rate; but, it also leaves a lot to be desired.Here are a few things we would suggest to the City of Baltimore for next time:Pie chartsBe careful with them. Unlike other data visualization folks, I’m not completely opposed to the pie chart in all situations. But, if...

Why the Hell was Taj at a Design Conference and What Did She Learn There?

By: Taj  Last week I was at the Interaction Design conference. Now, you probably know that evaluation and design don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, so I understand if your next thought is a befuddled, “Huh?” You don’t usually find evaluators at a design conference.  So, was I just hopping a plane to San Francisco in February because of the awesome weather and the cool town? Well, not exactly, although I have to say those were both nice perks of being there. Did I travel to San Fran for some much needed R&R and to clear my head? Not entirely, but I do always feel inspired and innovative when I’m there. (And it’s a bit surreal to go by the Uber headquarters in your Uber.)      The truth is, I’ve been doing a ton of reading and...