The amount of data being created each year is staggering. By 2015 the global annual rate of data production exceeded 5.6 zettabytes; that's double the rate of growth in 2012, according to IDC. Data alone, however, hardly gives executives and board members access to the valuable insights that inform all their decisions and investments.
To really capitalize on the power of data, it must be gathered, organized, made interpretable, analyzed, and key insights must be extracted and put into accessible language. And it's really that last part that's so important. Having the ability to say succintly why a number or percentage sways and impacts the decision making process is a critical step to truly benefitting from data visualization.
How else can your nonprofit benefit from effectively visualizing its data? Here are a few immediate benefits.
Understand information newly
Can you understand your business and operational conditions through visualized data? If you cannot make connections between multiple data sets and make effective and informed business decisions from them then you're not fully utilizing your data. Through robust data visualization practices your decision makers will be able to provide a richer context for data through heat maps, and multi-dimensional data visualizations.
Relationships and patterns
Being able to more effectively see connections between data sets as they are occurring between business performance and operating conditions allows nonprofit to make more informed decisions. Whether that's allocation of fundraising dollars or being able to more accurately calculate ROI on advertising initiatives, finding correlations between data is much easier when more attention is put on data visualization.
Develop a new business language
Does your data tell a story? One of the biggest advantages, as alluded to earlier, is being able to communicate what your data exactly means to your nonprofit. Being able to talk about what's happening now, and what's projected to happen tomorrow, then being able to back up those suppositions with facts is key to effective nonprofit management. By developing a way to effectively visualize and present your nonprofit's data you'll start a new dialogue among your board or group of decision makers that will only enhance your nonprofit's decision making process. There's a big difference between an educated guess and a shot in the dark.