A dashboard is a visual way to bring lots of data together easily (hopefully automatically) into an at-a-glance overview of a situation. Nonprofits can use dashboards for all sorts of purposes, including fundraising results, program participation, management reports to boards, and much more.
One very popular use of the dashboard concept is to monitor social media conversations about your organizations and issues. Sure, you can spend all day logging into and searching Twitter and Facebook and Google to see what’s happening, but why not have all of that data sent to you automatically instead?
“I use the dashboard ever morning when I get into the office. Each tab is customizable for your organization. I’ve dedicated a tab for important topics to my organization. I pull in RSS feeds from the various websites that contain information relating to our mission.
I’ve also dedicated a tab to my organization’s Google Alerts. This pulls all alerts for the various keywords into one place and updates automatically. I’ve also used Google Translate and set up Hebrew keywords to monitor our organization in Israeli media well.
I created Twitter searches and then grabbed the RSS feed for those terms, and made a tab in my dashboard for Twitter mentions and lists of relevant topics to my organization happening within Twitter. I use the same RSS concept to pull in Flickr alerts, Myspace and Facebook. Basically using RSS feeds, I’m pulling anything that relates to my organization or topics related to our mission into one place. It saves me an incredible amount of time when the info comes to me instead of me trying to locate it on each individual site.
Netvibes also allows you to share your dashboard with others (Google Dashboard is very similar; I just prefer Netvibes). This has been an excellent resource for us. I share my dashboard with our editorial director and other members of the communications team. We can easily forward stories or Google Alerts to one another right from the dashboard.
Did I mention it is also free?”