• Alternatives to Microsoft Access Databases

    Posted on September 9, 2021 | by Jacob Joseph

    Microsoft’s Access has dominated custom solutions for managing data and prototyping databases since it was unveiled in 1992. While it has been the de facto custom database for many Microsoft customers for almost 3 decades, it has not aged well in the era of “the cloud.”

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  • Give Us Your Tired

    Posted on June 29, 2021 | by Derek Kessen, Taj Carson

    Nonprofits are in survival mode. You work every weekend, you give everything to your clients and leave nothing for yourself, you can’t give anymore and yet it’s not enough. Systems don’t work, the team is unhappy, and the community isn’t sure we’ll be there when they need us. There’s never enough time or money to fix it, so we just hold on until tomorrow.

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  • Data Visualization Design Tip: Using a Style Guide

    Posted on November 17, 2020 | by Taj Carson

    Everybody Needs Style. Why You Need a Style Guide for Your Data Visualization. We are big fans of efficiency at Inciter. We like to make our lives easier, and we LOVE to make your lives easier. If you are doing any kind of data visualization, this post will save you time and a lot of annoyance. And who doesn’t love to improve their data visualization design? What is a Style Guide?

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  • Tools to Make Data Cleaning Easier

    Posted on August 3, 2020 | by Jacob Joseph

    Cleaning, wrangling, munging, preparation, validation, ETL, transformation, ELT these are all different names for making data more useful. Whether youre doing one-off analysis, scheduled reports analytics, or integrating two different data systems or applications, when you work with data, data cleaning is an important part of almost all data processes. Data cleaning is taking data as-is and changing the content, structure or format to be more useful. Removing blank rows and deleting invalid addresses are examples of data cleaning.

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  • 5 Mistakes That Kill Survey Data (and How to Avoid Them)

    Posted on July 6, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    Whether you are getting feedback from program participants, members, donors or other stakeholders, an online survey can be the easiest and most efficient way to do it. Of course, online surveys are not a one size fits all solution for collecting data to answer your burning questions, but they can be a cost effective method to gather certain data for your organization. No matter your field or audience, you have to follow some best practices if you want to make use of your data.

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  • Ask These 5 Questions Before Changing Databases

    Posted on June 22, 2020 | by Taj Carson

    You want data at your fingertips, when you need it, in the right format. Who doesnt? But often when you go to get reports, the data is siloed and you cant bring it together, or some of its missing, or its not accurate, or you dont know what to make of it. Maybe you think technology is the answer. Its understandable. Machine learning. Artificial intelligence. Big data. There is all this amazing technology out there that can make cleaning, analyzing and reporting on data so much easier.

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  • What is Sketchnoting and Why Should You Try It?

    Posted on June 15, 2020 | by Taj Carson

    Tired and unfocused during long meetings? Im going to help you with that. Last week, I had a seven hour Zoom conference call, with about 20 people in it. (I know. I know.) It was necessary, and all parties were actively engaged, and needed to be. This was an authors retreat for a large research project, where Inciter is serving as the data visualization team. It was important that I stay engaged, not space out, and listen to the findings, the nuances, the decisions people were making.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 8: Final Summary & Data Cleaning Guide

    Posted on June 8, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    This is the eighth and final post in our Data Cleaning in Excel blog post series. As the series comes to a close, wed like to take an opportunity to organize and recap material weve covered. Well review some of the useful Excel functions weve used, and provide some guidance for incorporating the techniques into your data cleaning routine. Every dataset has its own issues. Our posts in this series have been written to address ad-hoc common problems.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 7: Managing Blank Cells

    Posted on June 2, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    In this part of our data cleaning series, well be focusing on managing blank cells. There isnt a singular approach to handling blank cells in your dataset. Because there are numerous reasons why a cell might be blank, context is key when determining how to fill them. Sometimes, youll need to fill every blank cell in your data with the same constant. Other times, youll pick up clues as to what should be there from the surrounding data.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 6: How to Remove Duplicates

    Posted on May 27, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    In this part of our data cleaning series, well help you find and remove duplicate entries in Excel. Repeats are a very common data entry mistake or error from a data pull. Duplicates in your data can create a variety of unfortunate consequences in administrative duties and analysis. Worst of all, they lead to a real misrepresentation of your results. This is Part 6 in our Data Cleaning in Excel 101 series.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 5: Numbers That Don't Act Like Numbers and Leading Zeros

    Posted on May 18, 2020 | by Jacob Joseph

    Ever try to do a calculation with numbers in Excel and get an error or the numbers don’t seem to be adding up? Ever fight with ZIP code formatting? Below you can find some methods of dealing with numbers that just aren’t acting like numbers. Well also review some instances in which youll actually want Excel to store numbers as text, and how to convert them. This is Part 5 in our Data Cleaning in Excel 101 series.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 4: More Uses for Flash Fill

    Posted on May 12, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. In Parts 2, 3, and 4 of our Data Cleaning in Excel series, well show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excels powerful Flash Fill shortcut. Part 2 focuses on splitting data from one cell to multiple cells. Part 3 covers the opposite: combining data from multiple columns into one column.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 3: How to Combine Columns in Excel

    Posted on May 4, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. In Parts 2, 3, and 4 of our Data Cleaning in Excel series, well show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excels powerful Flash Fill shortcut. Part 2 focuses on splitting data from one cell to multiple cells. Here, in Part 3, well cover the opposite: combining data from multiple columns into one column.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 2: How to Split Columns in Excel.

    Posted on April 21, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    Having the right data in the right columns to meet specific requirements for your analysis plays a major role in the data cleaning process. Over the next 3 parts in our Data Cleaning in Excel series, well show you how to solve common issues by utilizing both standard and Excels powerful Flash Fill shortcut. Part 2 focuses on splitting data from one cell to multiple cells. Part 3 covers the opposite: combining data from multiple columns into one column.

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  • Data Cleaning in Excel 101, Part 1: How to Delete Empty Rows in Excel!

    Posted on April 14, 2020 | by Kristen Halsey

    At Inciter, we use many tools to clean data. Google Sheets and Excel are widely available and powerful tools for basic data cleaning of small to medium data sets. In this series, we will describe different methods for cleaning data that have common problems such as blank rows, duplicates, multiple values in one column, data split into too many columns, leading zeroes, numbers that dont act like numbers, basic data recoding, and comparing two versions of a spreadsheet.

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  • Data Maturity Part II: How Grown Up Are You?

    Posted on February 3, 2020 | by Taj Carson

    Data Maturity Stages In Part I of this blog series, I introduced the concept of data maturity, its importance to organizations, and steps for becoming data mature. Today, well tackle the ways in which organizations can be thought of as existing in different stages of data maturity and how you may move through them. Particularly relative to reporting, knowing where you are on the data maturity scale will help you identify the right approach and the right tools to move forward.

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  • Data Maturity Part I

    Posted on January 9, 2020 | by Taj Carson

    I was introduced to the term data maturity by Karen Graham, Maddie Grant, and Jenn Taylor at their 2019 GoodTech Fest presentation. (If you dont know about GoodTech Fest, check out my blog post on it here and consider going in 2020! Its a great, reality-based conference about measuring what matters in the nonprofit sector.) Ive been thinking a lot about this idea of data maturity, and how we can help organizations build capacity to provide data for themselves and to funders.

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