Author Archives: Diane

About Diane

I'm a Texas girl trying to make a pretty home on a ridiculously tiny budget. Loves chocolate, fireflies, seaglass, community service and my very own honey lamb.

Giving in 2016 – survey findings from Dini Spheris

Dini Spheris just issued the results of a survey conducted earlier this year among philanthropic leaders in Houston.  The following infographic summarizes their findings.

source: Dini Speris

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Case study – relationship mapping

If you were with us a few weeks ago for our summer workshop, you might have participated in a very lively discussion about Relationship Mapping tools and methods.  The idea for today’s post came to me from Maria Mutmansky, who was the moderator of that group discussion.  This case study appeared in the Chronicle of Philanthropy last fall and highlights the way that the Henry Ford Museum has capitalized on their relationship mapping product.


Of course these tools cannot replace the kind of individual research and verification that a staff member can perform.  But they can help to dramatically increase the amount of work one staff member can accomplish.  And if you are one person working with a data base of 500,000 constituent records, that’s a huge benefit!

Click on the image above to read the original article.


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APRA-GH board position nominations open

APRA Greater Houston is accepting nominations for our 2016 board officers.  The job of these board officers is to conduct the business side of the chapter and make sure we operate within the guidelines outlined in our corporate bylaws.

APRA-GH members and friends are invited to submit nominations (including self-nominations) for the following board officer positions:

  • President-Elect
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Membership & Communications Chair.

Submit nominations to until September 24th and board officer elections will follow in October.


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Bookmark this – stokpic

My favorite online graphic design resource has just gone corporate and their former supply of free photographic background imagery has evaporated.  So I have had to start casting about for new sources.  Happily, I discovered stokpic.  It’s too awesome not to share!




This online library of beautiful photographs was founded by photographer Ed Gregory and it’s free for use on websites, on social media posts, and more.  I am overjoyed!

Click on the thumbnails above to explore for yourself!



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The value of storyboarding

I’ve been using the phrase “think it through” a lot in conversations with my manager recently.  All of us are working through business questions and some of these questions are more complex than they appear on the surface.  As an analyst, I need to set aside time to think through my work approach and also my work product approach.  How am I going to communicate the information I find in a way that’s easy for everyone else to understand?




In the past year I’ve been sketching more and more and I’ve been reading more articles that seem to emphasize this low-tech approach to organizing your thoughts before starting to compile a work product.  Makes sense to me.


Here’s a slide deck from Mico Yuk from this year’s PASS Business Analytics Conference discussing storyboarding.


In all honesty, I’ve been looking for a “how-to” storyboard guide for my own use for a while now and haven’t found one.  In my quest to advance my skills I start with a measurement that I’ve been asked to communicate:  the headline.  Then I start asking myself questions about that measurement.  The kind of questions I would expect other people to be curious about — the kind of questions I’m curious about myself.  Then I conduct more analyses to get the answers and incorporate them in the same space, supporting the headline, using visual, easy-to-understand icons whenever possible.


Paper and pen is my best friend for sketching out the order in which the reader will see and digest information.


My journey toward data visualization enlightenment is still in progress, but with a little help from the experts and friends like you, I keep moving forward.  Please share your data viz success story with me if you would!



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Happy Labor Day


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by | September 7, 2015 · 8:08 am

Fundraising Advisor quiz from Abila

True confession: I’m one of those people who secretly take online quizzes.  Like what’s your hippie name?  Or which Mary Poppins character are you? OK, I totally made that last one up, but sometimes quizzes can be ridiculous.


Unless of course they’re about increasing your fundraising IQ.  I couldn’t resist this quiz from Abila!



The best part is the great information they deliver right after you complete the survey.  Maybe some information you already knew, but reinforcement is a good thing.  Here’s a sample:


Ouch!  The learning moment is for us to leverage all the data at our disposal for communications segmentation, personalized outbound touches and channel specific content (being mindful of constituent channel preferences).


Click on either of the images above to take the quiz yourself and get a set of advice that matches your results!



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