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Recent trends in storytelling

Remember the first time you went to a show and saw your favorite band. You wore their shirt, and sang every word. You didn't know anything about scene, haircuts, or what was cool. All you knew was that this music made you feel different from anyone you shared a locker with. Someone finally understood you. This is what music is about....

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AEA 2014 Recap

by Mandolin Singleton Last month I attended the 2014 American Evaluation Association conference in Denver, CO. 2014's conference theme was “Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future.” The event brought together research and evaluation professionals from all over the globe and from a variety of disciplines (e.g., community psychology, health and human services, PreK-12 educational evaluation). Attendees were encouraged to explore ways in which evaluation could be used to support sustainability and equality across disciplines and sectors.  This year’s conference was especially exciting (as well as nerve-wrecking) for me because I was attending as a first time conference presenter. I went to numerous sessions, learned a lot, and had a great time connecting with other evaluators. (I even found a little bit of time to explore Denver’s spectacular shopping scene). Below are...

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Secrets from the Data Cave: November 2014

by Sarah McCruden Welcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!Visualizing Nonprofit Data: Tell the Real Story by Using Your Program Knowledge (This blog post originally appeared last month as a guest post for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations.) Many nonprofit organizations rely on in-house staff members to crunch numbers and create reports for their program data. This means that, in some cases, those who are inexperienced at turning heaps of...

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Secrets from the Data Cave, October 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!Access vs. Excel: Which Will Reign Supreme (for your storage needs)Access and its less showy cousin, Excel, are both good options for data storage. In this installment of Secrets from the Data Cave, I'll highlight some things to consider when deciding between using Excel and Access for your data storage needs.I should start by saying that Excel CAN do a lot...

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What I did on my summer vacation

by Jill Scheibler [caption id="attachment_1451" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Hint: It involved both literal and metaphorical roller coasters.[/caption]Today— with suntans fading and schools back in full swing— it's a few days into fall and I can definitely feel it! It's gloomy outside and I'd like nothing more than to revisit my summer vacation.In my role at CRC I wear a number of different “evaluation hats”, and otherwise keep busy throughout the year teaching courses at a local university and directing a small arts nonprofit called Make Studio. When summer rolls around I am very eager to escape my not-quite-9-definitely-later-than-5 schedule for some fresh air and sunshine. Yet I don’t necessarily want to shut off my brain or escape the things that excite me about my work.So, this year I went to summer camp...

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Supernatural FX Showreel

Remember the first time you went to a show and saw your favorite band. You wore their shirt, and sang every word. You didn't know anything about scene, haircuts, or what was cool. All you knew was that this music made you feel different from anyone you shared a locker with. Someone finally understood you. This is what music is about....

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Baltimore Data and Evaluation Meetup

  The Baltimore Data and Evaluation Meetup, recently created by CRC, is a group for people working at nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies who are interested in collecting and using data to improve their programs. Whether you are trying to figure out where to start, wrestling with providing data to funders, figuring out what outcomes you should be measuring, or analyzing and reporting on the data you already collect, this meetup is for you. All levels of expertise are welcome. Participants will discuss the issues they are facing and share ideas and resources in order to practically solve problems. At least one skilled evaluation professional will be present at every session. We are hoping to develop a group where people from different organizations can bring questions about evaluation, share ideas, and...

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CRC’s “Dumbphone” User

by Tracy DusablonEach CRC staff person is assigned a month in which to write a blog – this month it was my turn. At first, I was wracking my brain to come up with something instructive, like in my colleague Sarah’s series Secrets from the Data Cave, or hip like Sheila’s post about Data Driven Detroit. Instead, I decided to write about something  that sets me apart from my co-workers, and tell a little story about our office in the process. The other day I was checking office voicemail online (we have an internet phone system) and came across this funny-looking icon. I noted how non-self-explanatory this icon was and, out of curiosity, asked a few co-workers if they knew what it meant. The conversation went a little something like this:Me:...

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CRC Takes Detroit

By Sheila MatanoThis past week, Taj and I visited Detroit to meet with Erica Raleigh at Data Driven Detroit (D3) and also took some time to explore the city.Data Driven DetroitD3 is a National Neighborhood Indicators Partner (NNIP) and an affiliate of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). Created in 2008, D3 houses a comprehensive data system that includes current and historic demographic, socioeconomic, educational, environmental, and other indicators. In addition to providing access to high-quality data, D3 also provides services such as data analysis and data visualization to organizations in Detroit.  For example, they created the One D Scorecard to show how Detroit compares to different regions across the United States. (See other examples of D3’s work.) D3 Building  D3's Mission ShinolaFounded in 2011, Shinola is a Detroit-based company that produces watches, bicycles,...

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EYEO 2014 RECAP

by Sheila MatanoLast week, I attended the EYEO festival for the first time. EYEO is unique in that it brings together experts from a wide variety of fields (e.g. computer science, engineering, data design, cartography, etc.) to showcase their work.  There were a number of great presentations, and below are some of my favorites. Sarah Williams: DigitalMatatus, Visualizing InformalitySarah Williams is currently an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and the Director of the Civic Data Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Planning. The Civic Data Design Lab employs data visualization and mapping techniques to expose and communicate urban patterns and policy issues to broader audiences. In her presentation, Sarah talked about how her team worked with Kenyan Universities and Nairobi’s growing technology sector to collect...

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