Workshop overview

This certificate program is divided into three areas: data usage, data visualization, and data storytelling. Each workshop is then divided into 4 sessions. Sessions will take place from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. (ET) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from September 12 to November 16, 2023 virtually through Zoom.

Using Data for Good

Participants will receive an overview of how to work with existing data sources that are relevant to efforts for good. This includes making data decisions, accessing existing data, utilizing data to advance beyond analysis paralysis, and engaging your own created datasets to address meaningful and applied data-for-good inquiries. There is preparation for later visualizations.

After completing the first workshop, participants will walk away with an understanding of how data advancements present barriers for making decisions, such as analysis paralysis, and how to overcome these issues by asking factual questions that can be meaningfully answered by harnessing insights from relevant datasets.

Participants will consider the ways that data can be used for good through thoughtful, actionable, and dynamic human applications. This is not about data-driven actions, as if data are the actor, but rather data-informed decisions in which people make choices that consider how even the best of intentions may not always get it right.

Participants will complete interactive data exercises with the Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS) and National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). The goal is to find answers to program-targeting inquiries, such as: Which states have the least donors giving to basic needs? Which neighborhoods have the fewest health services?

Participants will complete data exercises with data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS) and General Social Survey (GSS). The goal is to proceed deeper into answers to program-targeting inquiries by using social and relational data, such as: Which areas have lowering income inequality along with increasing trust in others?

Participants will consider data the organization already collects or could readily collect to generate insights. Participants will work in teams to walk through a series of steps designed to aid practitioners in linking organizational data with existing data to derive applications.

Visualizing Data for Good

Participants will create their own data visuals. Hands-on techniques include: how to frame an argument, name a problem, consider the objectives, engage the viewer in a relational dynamic, simplify the cognitive burden, provide an aesthetic experience, and engage visualization tools to accentuate key takeaways. There is preparation for later storytelling.

You will walk away with an understanding of data visualization techniques. Effective visuals do more than show the data. Beyond the default chart insertion automatically produced by many software programs, this workshop will equip participants with the skills to engage critical thinking to identify the main point of a visual and then use design features to draw attention to key takeaways.

In this session, participants will evaluate different ways of framing an argument and decide which style is most effective for the intended purpose. Drawing upon problem solving and observational skills, teams will collaborate to implement broader relational assets within visual imaging.

In this session, participants will learn about several visualization techniques, as well as compare and contrast how these techniques are implemented more and less successfully within examples of existing data visualizations. This will inform participant design choices for their own visuals.

In this session, participants will consider the desired outcomes of a visual: (a) a viewer learns something; (b) a user makes an informed decision; (c) someone understands the topic in a new way; (d) users feel a sense of connection or other emotional response; (e) people are inspired and compelled to take action; (f) viewers see themselves reflected in the data; (g) the visual goes viral on social media because it speaks to an impulse that is shared broadly among the general public.

In this session, participants will learn how to help viewers digest data in easily understandable formats. The workshop will focus on reducing layers of complexity to hone viewer attention on the most important information and facilitate imagination about the good.

Storytelling Data for Good

By marrying storytelling techniques with evidence, participants will learn how to help their stakeholders access needed information to aid fundraising, grantmaking, and social impact work. Good stories cause people to want to make changes for good. Data do not speak for themselves but need narrators. This is the concluding workshop in the series; participants will leave with a completion certificate.

You will walk away with a social media campaign, white paper brief, or enhanced impact report. The impact on your stakeholders will be enhanced by the attention, discussion, and revision surrounding your key storylines and how they accentuate the insights garnered from your data visualizations.

In this session, participants will review examples of compelling narratives, such as: trends, rankings, comparisons, surprises, contradictions, and relationships. Some of the best stories from data research emerge when the data reveals something that is surprising or even counter-intuitive. Interpreting relationships is a challenging but worthwhile endeavor for data stories.

In this session, participants will first recognize that data stories are hard work. To tell the best stories, the goal is to tell original stories that start with an idea, check the facts, focus on a few key data points, and visualize. A story must be insightful and trustworthy, while also human and relatable.

In this session, participants will learn how to avoid common pitfalls in data clutter. For example, the spaghetti graph overlays multiple trend lines and resemble haphazard noodles that are challenging for viewers to extract a story. More effective is to tell the story one line at a time by vertically stacking lines independently, and to use color to accentuate the main storyline and deemphasize others.

In this session, participants will decide on the platform for delivering stories and refine the point by asking these questions: What background is essential for understanding? What can be cut? What is the most condensed form for the story? Prioritize visuals, with text as supplemental.