Turning data into information
As we head into a few months devoted to producing several reports, OGF’s communications team has been exploring different data visualization methods as a way to create 21st century reports that turn data into information. We’ve been looking at lots of online resources, from the conceptual writing of Lucy Bernolz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog to hundreds of how-to practical resources and examples like this one on designing infographics.
This fall, we’re researching, writing and publishing reports on foundation salaries, Ohio giving, diversity at OGF member organizations and the grantmaking outlook for 2013, as well as developing rosters of the state’s community foundations and its youth philanthropy programs.
The effort to revamp the publications is not just about the aesthetics – although that’s part of it – it’s also that we recognize that people are less willing and have less time to read long narratives that explain data. Our first effort this fall can be seen in the cover of our 2012 Salary Report, based on data we collected with the Council on Foundations.
As we delved deeper into the topic, I was really interested to read a recent post by our friends at Philanthropy Northwest about a new initiative, Markets for Good, sponsored by the Gates Foundation (an OGF member) and Hewlett Foundation. There’s a great short video that explains its goal of improving the information infrastructure of the social sector in order to achieve better outcomes.
I’ll be interested to hear how others in the philanthropic sector are using data visualization techniques – including infographics – to give a new look and interpretation to our tired bar and pie charts!