If you’re a nonprofit who works with Tableau, we’d like to recommend investing a small amount of your time learning to use Tableau Web Data Connectors. (As always, this is not a paid endorsement — simply our opinion on a tool we think is a valuable data resource for nonprofits!)
Tableau, if you’re not already familiar with it, is business intelligence software designed to help users better view and understand their data. Tableau Web Data Connectors let you connect data from multiple sources.
So what does that mean for your organization?
Why Do You Need to Import Data?
Tableau Web Data Connectors provide your team with prepackaged links to common — and useful — datasets, allowing you to automatically import them directly into Tableau. But why is that a valuable data resource for nonprofits?
As a singular example, this tool provides you access to US Census Data, a massive dataset that can require extensive man-hours to locate, clean and import into Tableau — hours your organization may not have to spare. Using this data resource, nonprofits can quickly and easily access and work with that data.
But what value does US census data hold for nonprofits?
- It can help you better target resources to your intended audiences
- It can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your projects
- It can add substance to your reports and presentations (which will enhance your nonprofit’s reputation and credibility)
Using External Data to Weight Your Numbers
Data collection takes time and resources. Using statistics from external sources can help you effectively weight your own data to ensure it paints an accurate picture of the information you’ve collected:
- Early last year, we used external data while working with an NYC nonprofit to gain a better understanding of how to best allocate resources, and to advocate with local policymakers.
- We’ve also talked about using data from outside sources to ensure survey results were representative of the local population
- Most recently, we used the specific example of how census data can be used to weight survey responses to gain a more accurate picture of a specific population’s opinion.
Maximizing the return you get from your resources is crucial for nonprofits — and it’s important to ensure your data is as accurate as possible when decisions about how to allocate those resources are made.
Tableau Web Data Connectors You Can Use
Now that you’ve discovered this amazing data resource for nonprofits, how will you find the data you need for your project? The list of Tableau Web Data Connectors available is ever-growing, but Alexander Beck has helpfully put together this great list of connectors he’s found. Here are a few that might be particularly relevant to nonprofits:
- US economic data (includes income, population, employment) from the Federal Reserve Bank
- US energy data from the Federal Energy Administration
- Federal, state, regional and municipal government data from Socrata
- Earthquake data from the United States Geological Survey
- Weather data from Open Weather
- US Census Tract data
Valuable Data Resources for Nonprofits
At Datassist, we understand that data analysis and visualization isn’t everyone’s forte. We offer a wide range of data resources for nonprofits to help your organization get its work noticed. We can help you mindfully express complex data to your donors via beautiful web-based or print infographics and publication-quality reports, stories, and slides.