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Building Executive Dashboards with Google Chart : Page 2

Implement dynamic, entirely browser-based executive dashboards with the freely available Google Chart API graphing library.

Building an Executive Dashboard with Google Chart
The Google Chart example in this article is a simple executive dashboard for a fictional, nonprofit organization whose board of directors wants to track and plan fundraising campaigns, levels of donations, performance of ads, and time-oriented, geographical statistics for its fundraisers.

The following sections will walk you through constructing this executive dashboard with bar charts, line charts and scatter plots, and a pie chart:

  • The bar charts will present information that requires more detailed quantitative analysis, such as the performances of specific fundraising campaigns.
  • The line charts and scatter plots will present trending.
  • The pie charts will present the geographic distribution that the organization uses.

Click here for an example of an executive dashboard for the nonprofit organization.

Bar Charts for Campaign Performances
The nonprofit organization advertises its cause via five major media outlets: TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet, and direct mailing. The organization's leadership, as well as supporters, need to know which one of these outlets yielded the most donations this year.

The executive dashboard uses bar charts to display this information, as bar charts display fine differences in data with greater precision. Some of the five data sources may show very little variance (e.g., radio and direct mailing), and the bar chart will enable executive decision makers to make fine-grained, side-by-side comparisons.

Line Charts for 12-month Trending
People tend to donate the most during the holidays. How about other periods of the year? The organization's board wants to know when the slow season is for donations and better target its advertising accordingly. For that purpose, the executive dashboard uses a line chart that shows two levels of donations, each represented by a line: individual donations and corporate donations.

This chart should help identify the months of the year when the nonprofit would benefit from an increase in monthly ads and fundraising campaigns.

Pie Chart for Geographical Distribution
Pie charts are best used for presenting data with few categories and offering quick observations of anomalies within otherwise expected distributions. The executive dashboard uses a pie chart to display relative fundraising levels for three U.S. regions: East, West, and Central.

The organization's board expect the pie chart slices to correspond to the relative populations of the regions: large in the East and the West, and small in the Central. Any anomaly in the expected relative sizes of the slices would indicate an issue in how regional campaign managers are handling their fundraising processes. At the same time, small differences that may be hard to spot on pie charts are acceptable because variations in regional performances are expected.

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