Displaying Data in a Dashboard
September 2, 2020
The need for staff buy-in should never be underestimated when it comes to collecting quality data. Working with organizations to creatively engage staff in data collection processes is a challenge that I enjoy.
When completing a mixed-methods evaluation of Wayfinders’ Cross-Cultural Service-Learning Initiative, we worked with management to develop a tracker, for student volunteer time, that was updated weekly by staff.
Partway through, students wanted a simple and up-to-date summary of volunteer hours that could be generated in real-time. It needed to show the total volunteer hours, type of activities and the organizations they volunteered with; allowing them to use the information to apply for jobs and post-secondary programs. In order to make it work, staff needed to input data consistently. It needed to be user-friendly and visually appealing.
We collaborated with Wayfinders to develop a dashboard in Microsoft Excel using pivot tables and charts that updated when new activities were put in – providing an “at-a-glance” overview.
Once the dashboard was developed, its ability to support staff decision-making (e.g. developing partnerships with community organizations in areas where students volunteered most frequently) was emphasized. Keeping in mind, that unless there is staff buy-in, data does not get collected.