Want an easier way to present complex data to your board?

Consider dashboards.

Having a problem interpreting your 10 page financial statement to the board?  Try turning key indicators into a green, yellow, or red light. Put several key pieces of data on a summary page and you have an easily understood report on where the organization stands.

The Center for Nonprofit Management provides Picture This, a very short case study on how a bookkeeper distilled a 14 page monthly report into an understandable one page summary.

That article links to this great visual description of how to use dashboards to report key data:  A Nonprofit Dashboard and Signal Light for Boards by the Blue Avocado blog.

Here is just one example from the article: To analyze days of unrestricted cash on hand, the organization sets a target of 45 days – 6 months ago that stat was at 65 days, so that square is in green – today the stat is at 18 days, way below target, so that square is red.  In a four-second glance, much less time that it takes you to read the previous sentence, a board member can see that the cash on hand has deteriorated a lot in the last six months. 

Check out the article to see how easy dashboards are to read!

2 thoughts on “Want an easier way to present complex data to your board?

  1. We just took a stab at delineating flavors of dashboards, just to draw some clear distinctions between types. From our perspective, it’s part of the larger data visualization conversation but also the conversation about effective business practices. We’d love your thoughts if you have a moment – did we get the right categories? Anything we missed? Other great examples of nonprofit dashboards (aside from Picture This)?


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