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Doing Data Right

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention…”

Herbert A. Simon

Maybe your organization just conducted a national survey, a literature review or a claims analysis project. You’re eager to share your new data.

But before you do, consider a few cold realities.

Not everyone delights in numbers. Few people want to hear information just for information’s sake.  And the people who can make your ideas actionable – policymakers – may already be drowning in data.

It’s worth taking the time to share your data the right way. Here are several suggestions.

  • Find your lead. Not all findings are equally valuable, and burying your audience in data points may mean that no single point sticks. Select the most important data points to highlight. Let the other findings take a supporting role.
  • Connect the dots. Organize and contextualize your data points in a way that tells a story. Long after your audience forgets individual statistics, they’ll remember the narrative those data points created.
  • Be visual. Lead your outreach with visuals. If you’re presenting the data on slides, keep text to a minimum and create engaging visuals. Other formats are also useful.  Along with infographics, graphs and charts, report cards can offer an accessible and familiar format for sharing data.
  • Don’t make your audience work. Generating the data may be difficult. Understanding it should not be. Keep in mind that your visuals, reports or presentations should crystalize your data — not ask your audience to interpret it themselves.
  • Drive action. Think about who needs to hear your message — and what you want people to do with the information you present. Then create a plan to get this data in front of them. Whether it be through a letterdesk campaign, social media or any other means, it’s essential that your advocacy doesn’t stop once you’ve presented your data.

Data doesn’t have to be dull. By incorporating visuals to weave a narrative and drive action, your data can be a powerful tool for furthering your organization’s mission. 

Woodberry Associates has decades of experience collecting, analyzing and presenting data. Contact us today to learn how we can help your organization.