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May 12, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

Visual Design for Nonprofits and Social Business

I’m facinated by the issue of visual communication and data visualization for social business and nonprofit organizations. Ultimately, visual communication is a means of creating a more compelling and interesting story about your organization (whether that is for internal or external communication purposes) Hence, I’ve made this list of 17 types of data visualization for nonprofit organization. Although–ultimately categorizing them by function (which I’ll do later) is perhaps a more helpful organizational structure. I’ve grouped them into three (somewhat unwieldy) groups—if I understood the 6 areas perhaps those would work best:

Story template
Graphic facilitation
Info mural

Pie chart
Line chart
Bar chart

Cycle diagram
Venn Diagram
Flow chart
Decision discovery diagram
Critical path/process event chains
Mind map
Tree map
Porters 5 forces (for strategy)

Here is the six part rubric from the periodic table of visualization methods–which I’ve borrowed the above methods from:

1) Data visualization
2) Info visualization
3) Strategy visualization
4) Metaphor visualization
5) Concept visualization
6) Compound visualization

You can find more about information visualization at Info graphics page on Alltop.

In addition to everything outlined above–I think visual design, info graphics and data visualization can be an incredibly important component of:

1) strategically and efficiently aligning the organization (creating clarity and simplicity about current processes and the future)
2) creating a visual narrative and social proof for the organization
3) explaining the social impact, return on investment (ROI), and whats in it for me (WIFM) for key organizaitonal stakeholders (donors, customers, employees, and volunteers)
4) in fact, data visualization in the form of information dashboards for larger organizations can be part of ongoing accountability.

Combined these represent some of the major underutilized aspects of social media for non profits, charities, associations, and blended value organizations (social businesses).

One Comment

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  1. Nathan Ketsdever / May 14 2010 12:33 am

    Steven Few is an author on this issue–mostly in the context of information dashboards:

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