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Let's Hear it for the Visuals!

10/19/2020 3:27 PM | Greater Boston Evaluation Network (Administrator)

Hi! I’m Kelly Washburn, Project Manager of Evaluation and Strategic Support at MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) and the GBEN Programming Chair. This blog post is based on my presentation I did for GBEN’s September roundtable. At CCHI, I act as an internal evaluator focusing on four community coalitions supported by MGH. When I started at CCHI over 4 years ago, I was inspired to create infographic/visual reports to highlight the coalitions’ work after reviewing the reports they are required to submit to the Attorney General and grant funders. Those required reports typically come with a template and for the coalitions, never highlight all the different areas of work they do each year. 

These infographic reports are meant to complement the other reporting they have to do. As I started to move from text-heavy reports to visuals, the following tips helped me.

  • State the purpose: The purpose of these coalitions’ infographics was to highlight all their work during the fiscal year in an easy to understand format.

  • Know the intended audience: My audience was coalition staff and current and potential members. It’s important to know that this format may not be appropriate for all audiences. For example, I would not create an infographic with senior leadership at the hospital as the intent will be different for them. 

  • Know how much knowledge and buy-in is currently there with program staff: I developed relationships with the program staff through team meetings and other evaluation activities and those conversations around reporting really showed their need in creating something more visual.  

  • Know what data will be included and how to collect it: As an internal evaluator, I was able to devote time to attending their coalition meetings and internal team meetings, so I was able to continuously collect data on the work they were doing. I also created a basic Word document that had all their process outcomes and asked staff to fill in the gaps. That method has worked well for them, however, I’m starting to rethink the tracking process as I update their evaluation plans.

  • Consider the budget and time constraints: It might not be possible to get a paid subscription to programs such as Piktochart or Canva, but there is a lot that can be done with their free subscriptions or even PowerPoint. I’ve used both Piktochart and PowerPoint to create visuals. I lean towards PowerPoint when I need to include more charts and tables. 

The coalitions have really appreciated the infographics and love sharing them with their audiences, along with easily pulling the data points for other reports. To see some examples of what my colleagues and I have created, check out the Charlestown Coalition’s Data Report page on their website. 

For myself, I am thinking about how to change or add to this foundation including, showing trend data (when applicable) and ensuring the accessibility of the reports. For resources discussed at the presentation by myself and other GBEN members, go to the presentation for the resources slide

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