Let’s face it: data and evaluation can be a burden. Without proper planning and structure, it can quickly become overwhelming. I think we can all agree that sometimes it would be nice to have a “magic button” to skip the juggling act and just get straight to an answer. With technology, sometimes (and only sometimes) there are data tools that can help reduce the number of balls in your juggling act.
Below, we’ve shared some software tools that could help your nonprofit at all stages of your data project. Of course, it’s important to do your homework before adopting any new tools. Like with all technology, there’s the risk of adding more challenges to an already stressful journey. Additionally, when using technology, it’s always important to understand a tool’s privacy implications, not only for your own use, but also for the people and groups you may serve and collaborate with. This is especially important when thinking about protecting privacy. The tools we’re sharing in this post aren’t endorsements, but examples to help you figure out the tools best for your organization’s unique situation or project.
Research is rarely a solo-endeavor. Like with any team sport, you need to get on the same page in order to move forward together. Classic project management tools like Basecamp and Asana can help you organize your project, clearly defining tasks and roles. If your team is trying to find a time to meet or connect, check out Calendly and Doodle Poll.
The questions you ask in your project will dictate what type of data to collect and what type of analysis you’ll perform. There are a variety of tools out there to help facilitate collecting different types of data. If you’re looking to have remote conversations, there are tons of online video platforms like Bluejeans or GotoMeeting. If you’re conducting surveys, check out Google Forms, Qualtrics, or SurveyMonkey.
Now that you have data, it’s time to analyze the results. Some tools are better for analyzing different types of data. If you’re analyzing quantitative data, R, SPSS, and SAS are common tools that you could use. If you’re collecting qualitative data or mixed-method data, you could check out Dedoose, NVivo and Atlas.ti.
Need to share or collaborate on data insights? There’s an ever-growing array of tools that help you organize and share your data. Data.world, Tableau, Kumu.io, and, of course, Excel, are just a few tools you might check out. If you’re looking for guidance on choosing a chart, check out Chart Chooser 1.0.
We hope this helps you on your data journey! If you have questions or would like more guided help, let us know!