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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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CRC’s 2014 In Review

[caption id="attachment_1742" align="aligncenter" width="600" class=" "] Warm Winter Tidings from all of us at CRC![/caption]   We've had an extraordinarily busy year, and are so pleased to have shared much of it with you!   This month, rather than a blog with evaluation-related info and tips, we're once again ending our work year together by taking looks back and forward.   Along with continuing to provide high quality evaluation and data services to clients -- both existing and new for 2014 -- Carson Research has completed its long-term project of updating our branding and communications so that they better reflect what we do and who we serve. Heading into 2015, we hope you'll become used to hearing from us as simply "CRC", in addition to calling us that to save breath and/or typing time.    To quickly...

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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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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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Secrets from the Data Cave: March 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!March 2014: I Am Going to S P A C EEarlier this month, while looking for some new and interesting data visualizations, I came across this nifty website that gives a spatial representation of the distance between planets in our solar system1. After thoroughly enjoying the learning experience (along with the witty interjections, as I patiently scrolled though the empty space...

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It’s not another cat video but it’s just as cool – check out the new CRC Website

 The completely revamped Carson Research Consulting web site showcases the talents and experiences of the CRC team as well as the company’s expanded list of services. These offerings go beyond traditional research and evaluation services to include database wrangling and data visualization.   Services are managed and delivered by experienced data and technology nerds, researchers and evaluators. The group’s strong work ethic and resourceful detective skills allow them to collect, organize, analyze and report on the data their clients need to explore, explain and improve their programs. And the new web site showcases the backgrounds, skills and experiences of each team member, including the new chief wellness officer. “The web site,” says Taj Carson, CEO of CRC, “reflects our approachable and highly applicable way of doing evaluations and visualizing data. I am...

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