Many of the services that Hillcrest Advisory provides are tailored to the individual needs of a client, and all of them emphasize coaching organizations to be wise and thoughtful with data visualization and storytelling, so that the organization can carry forward this work on its own.

Tailored services include: creating data messaging and stories that effectively summarize findings; developing product road maps and outreach plans for large-scale data initiatives; and obtaining audience input to ensure your data plans incorporate end-user needs.

In addition to this custom work, here are some specific service offerings:

The Quick Viz

Hillcrest Advisory’s abiding interest is helping social sector organizations leverage data to achieve results, especially by working in the trenches on the everyday work being done at a community level.

However, Hillcrest Advisory knows that many social sector organizations need cost-conscious options – in essence, easy entry for the overwhelmed and budget-minded. Through the “Quick Viz” (“viz” is short-hand for visualization), Hillcrest Advisory provides data communication consultation that typically run hours, not days, costing perhaps a few hundred dollars. We’ll have a phone call to learn about your needs, use cases, and audiences. Then, we’ll review the data; provide some graphs or messaging; and share what we did/why I did it (in order to provide some training in effective data communication). Examples include:

  • Crafting data slides for a PowerPoint presentation to help ensure what you’re communicating is cogent, engaging, and relatable to your audience.
  • Reviewing findings for a report you’re publishing to provide you with another set of eyes to develop messaging or graphs that clearly express key points.
  • Recommending useful data visualization tools. Based on what we hear about organizational needs and capabilities, we can make a recommendation on which of the many data tools out there can be useful for accomplishing the tasks you face.
  • Graph/map review: Perhaps you want a quick consultation on graphs or maps you’re getting ready to share publicly. We can offer some tips to help make sure you nail the point you need to make with the visuals that you’re using.
  • Developing fact sheets that you can share at meetings or events.
  • Brainstorming ideas for data-related outreach. Perhaps you need some ideas on how best to get the word out to your audiences regarding interesting data you’re releasing.
  • Helping your organization find and retrieve data from the wide array of public sources that are available.

Would you like to have an initial conversation to discuss? Provide details below, or e-mail

Data Trainings, via the Data-to-Results Institute

Through its Data-to-Results Institute, Hillcrest Advisory offers trainings to help build up organizational capacity to leverage and communicate data in effective, actionable ways. Here are some examples of individual trainings:

  • Lessons Learned in Communicating Data: Over the past twenty years, I’ve learned the hard way regarding what works with communicating data and transforming numbers into action. This introductory course can be a useful way to help an organization see the potential of more effective, results-driven data communication. Or this talk can serve as a prelude to a brainstorming activity on how to present findings, given that I show interesting data visualization examples from around the world.
  • Data Storytelling Coaching: We’re not all born with the capacity to tell stories with data, in order to create a memorable narrative. But building a poignant story that paints your data on a broader canvas is a skill that can be taught. This training can be done as an in-person exercise at a conference or organization-wide meeting or through tailored coaching, via webinars.
  • The How-To of Visualization: Many practical matters associated with creating graphs and maps can be easily learned – for example, when (and when not) to use a pie graph; why grey can be a vital color in visualizations; how to remove “chart junk” to make your message clear; and why it’s helpful to create headlines instead of generic chart titles.
  • Capitalizing on Your Open Data Offerings: Geared toward government agencies at a local, state, or national level, this training helps government staff realize the full potential of open data – that is, how open data can be used as a tool to understand end-user needs; to improve collaboration with those outside of government who use your data; and to ensure that your audiences can leverage your offerings to improve services and communities.
  • Developing a Data Product that Integrates Audience Input: There are approaches you can take to ensure you obtain and respond to audience input when building or enhancing a data tool. This training provides a how-to regarding user interviews and harnessing what you learn from constituents to build useful, durable data products.

Want more information? Provide details below, or e-mail