How Senior Care Non-Profits Tell Meaningful Stories with Data
What comes to mind when you think of storytelling? Entertainment, performance, school activities, cultural events? Probably not data, right? Historically, stories have offered a simple and powerful means to communicate experiences. That same simplicity and power can be applied to nonprofits to bring life to your data analytics—to tell your story to donors and families in a way that’s both clear and engaging.
Stories have influence. The influence to instigate. The influence to empower, and the influence to make people act. Numbers only tell part of the story. Perhaps you’ve greatly improved the Quality of Life scores for your seniors with Alzheimer’s—a significant accomplishment. If you simply state the score is up 15%, you assume the person receiving the message will imagine the impact of that change. If they don’t, the number is meaningless. Now, if you pair that number with specific examples and provide a clear picture of the impact, you tell the whole story and your message is more likely to be received.
When you combine storytelling and data, you can share your mission and your proven successes with donors, your community, and the families that you serve.
Use Data to Understand the Problem
The first step is using data to determine and describe the problem. Observational evidence is important, but when it comes to continuous improvement, numbers are better. In our example, you’d want to know how many seniors in your care have Alzheimer’s and their Quality of Life scores at a certain point in time: either when they joined the organization or when you implemented changes to improve the scores.
At SeniorGrowth, we offer tools that make it easy to assess and track Quality of Life scores in six specific areas, as well as an aggregate score for each senior. With this data you could analyze Quality of Life scores specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s and determine which of these six areas is most negatively impacted by Alzheimer’s. Perhaps you would notice that two areas are particularly low and focus your improvement efforts there.
Use Data to Understand the Impact
The second step is using data to show impact: in other words, to quantify improvements or positive change for your seniors and the community because of your efforts. In our example, you would revisit the same data points and look for trends since you implemented changes. Did Quality of Life scores go up for seniors with Alzheimer’s? If so, which of the six areas were impacted the most? Did any go down? Are there any correlations among the seniors with the most or least improvement?
With a technology provider like SeniorGrowth, this analysis would be simple. You only need to come up with the questions, the answers are provided for you. We make it easy to maintain data on each senior and to splice and dice that data however you need. You can view aggregate data to determine high-level impact of a change, then dive into that data to see which seniors were impacted and how. You can compare data from one age range to another—did the changes help younger seniors with Alzheimer’s more than the older ones? Do you need to consider other changes that would further benefit the older seniors?
Present Your Data Visually
One of the most powerful ways to tell a story is with pictures (you know, “a picture is worth a thousand words”). You may like imagining the details when you read a novel, but to communicate things quickly and with impact, think picture books. You want to show your impact visually in easy to understand graphs and charts.
It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to put together visual presentations—in fact, at SeniorGrowth, we not only help analyze your data, but also present it in easy to understand charts that you can copy and paste into any presentation material. Basically, we do the work for you. All you have to do is choose between the visuals available to determine which ones best quantify your impact and will best reach a particular audience. What information will stir them, inform them, and persuade them to donate or select your services? What is their goal and how can you show that your organization helps them get there?
Tell the Story
Storytelling isn’t just about pairing data with visuals in an intelligent and effective order—you can also use narration to put a human face on statistics. Tell a story that highlights one family who has met success under your care. Choose a senior who joined your program in a helpless state, but through your care has transitioned into a happy, safe, and more independent standard of living.
Once the story grabs attention, present the numbers to back it up. Choose your facts and figures carefully. Pick data that will best complement your story. You could tell the above story without the data to prove it, but it’s when you back it up with data that it becomes tangible and powerful to donors and families.
The most important piece of this process is having accurate, complete data in a format that makes it easy to analyze. Without that, you can’t move on to telling the story. At Senior Growth, we are dedicated specifically to using data to help senior care organizations like yours better achieve their mission. We’ve already thought through the most important data points and how to collect and organize them in a usable way. We want nothing more than to join you in reaching for better Quality of Life and more independence for the seniors in your care.
We invite you to try out our platform with a free 14-day trial, so you can see for yourself how it can help.
Have thoughts on telling senior care stories with data? Tweet us @SeniorGrowth with #DataInSeniorCare.
At SeniorGrowth, we are dedicated to improving the Quality of Life for seniors through the power of data. We build solutions to empower senior care organizations with data analytics and insights to prove their impact and make a difference for the seniors they serve.
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