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How to Use Data to Transform Your Organization: A Nonprofit Toolkit

About this event


As a key decision-maker, you want to have a complete understanding of your organization’s effort and impact. Learning from the variety of data you collect can help you be more informed about your organizational well-being. But where can you find all that data and how do you make sense of it all? Our upcoming course can help you get there in five short weeks. How to Use Data to Transform Your Organization is a brand new course, presented in partnership with Idealware, which will take you from raw data to organizational enlightenment. Sign up now at a discount and start learning more about your organization.

Through participation in this course, you will:

  • Learn how to ask the right questions of your data.
  • Explore the many places where data can live.
  • Understand various analysis techniques and tools.
  • Evaluate multiple strategies for presenting your data.
  • Dive into case studies of real organizations using data to make decisions.

Participants will also be given weekly “homework” assignments.


May 12, 2015 – Asking the Right Questions

Simply collecting data is not enough. Deciding early on what you will do with that data—and why you want it in the first place—will help you to define goals and approaches. We’ll talk through how to define your organization’s own data-based metrics strategy from the ground up, and importantly, how to ask the right questions.

May 19, 2015 – Hunting Down the Data

More often than not, the most useful data won’t be found already neatly laid out in a spreadsheet. You might find extremely valuable data in handwritten staff notes, in software you haven’t looked at in six months, or public repositories. We’ll discuss where different data can live, which sources of data might be useful, and where and how you can collect it to be ready for analysis.

May 26, 2015 – Analyzing Your Data

What do you do with all that newly harvested data? How do you take those piles of raw data and make sense of it all? In this class, we’ll break down the strategies you can use to analyze data, and what it can teach your organization.

June 2, 2015 – Presenting Your Data

Even if you work at a one-person organization, you’ll likely need to share that data with other colleagues, board members, and the community at large in order to bring about change. Presenting your findings in the form of infographics, charts, and graphs can lend a fresh perspective on how your data stacks up.

June 9, 2015 – Making Use of Your Data

In the final course, we will discuss the various ways you can go about using the data now that it has been collected and analyzed. We’ll examine case studies of several nonprofits that have used their metrics strategies to improve the strength and capacity of their organizations and look at best practices for moving forward in your own office.

About the Presenter

As the Founder and Director of Strategic Projects at Idealware, Laura Quinn guides many of Idealware’s research, writing, and training projects, including substantial research into data best practices. Prior to Idealware, Laura founded Alder Consulting, a firm that specialized in strategizing, designing, and building powerful internet strategies within affordable budgets. Laura has worked with a number of nonprofits on creating metrics strategies tactics, is a frequent speaker on nonprofit technology topics, and has conducted dozens of online and offline seminars. She is also an author on Idealware’s Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making: A Workbook, Understanding Software for Program Evaluation, and Nonprofit Performance Management: Using Data to Measure and Improve Programs.


$175 NAO Members

$200 Nonmembers


Are you an NAO Member? Access your discount code on NAO’s Member Only Page. You must be logged in to access this page.

Registration for this series is through Idealware, our partner for this training. Please register with the email address where you would like to receive the access and dial-in information for the online seminar. All registered participants are granted access to the recordings of each session. Participants who cannot attend any of the sessions due to scheduling conflicts will still have access to the toolkit presentation decks and handouts.