Course: Intro to Data Visualization

Have you ever sat through a presentation full of charts and graphs, but had no idea what all those numbers were actually supposed to prove? Or have you eagerly received a pile of raw survey data back after a program, only to scratch your head at how to turn it into the 5-minute visual presentation your board demands?

This software-agnostic course will help you to focus narrowly on what actually matters in a set of data—and then turn interesting features of that data into clear, compelling visualizations that require little explanation.

Using a story-first approach, this course acknowledges that nonprofits use data visualizations not just to make the numbers easier to read, but to illustrate a narrative of impact. We’ll look at how to find data points that support your narrative and display them in visualizations that focus on what’s important, are easy for anyone to interpret, and don’t hide the ball. You’ll have a chance to practice choosing the right charts and graphs, formatting for clarity, and organizing visualizations to support your own organizational story.

Learning Objectives

You will be able to…

  1. Identify interesting pieces of a dataset that support a desired narrative.
  2. Create charts and graphs that clearly highlight interesting data features.
  3. Present visualizations in a story-first format that makes the message clear to executives, funders, supporters, and others not familiar with the source data .

Course Timeline

Course Timeline
Course readings and pre-course quiz are available Sunday and due before the live event.
The live event takes place Wednesday at 11am PST (recording will be available shortly after).
Homework is due the following Sunday. Faculty provide feedback within a week.

Professional Credential Units

In addition to our own Nonprofit Technology Professional Certificate, NTEN is an approved provider for a number of other professional credentials programs. This course qualifies for the following credits.

NTEN Professional Certificate 1 | CFRE 3 | CAE 1.5

Speaker: Avory Faucette
Avory Faucette is a trans queer activist, writer, public speaker, and professional data geek. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. As a data professional, zie is also particularly interested in the intersections of identity with data and technology. Avory's work has been featured in Ms. Magazine Online, RH Reality Check, On the Issues, xoJane, The Frisky, Girl w/ Pen, Feministe, and Feministing and zie writes regularly at the blog Radically Queer. Hir work also appears in Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice and several print anthologies. Zie is a certified Salesforce Administrator and Platform App Builder and currently serves as Database Manager for Leadership for Educational Equity.