In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of Microsoft Excel (click here if you don’t believe me). I love Excel because it’s nearly free and can accomplish 99% of my data analysis tasks.

Sometimes evaluators are hesitant to use Excel. One misconception is that Excel is only good for 3-D exploding pie charts, boring bar charts, and random radar charts. But Excel can do more than you think!

Innovation Network recently published State of Evaluation 2012: Evaluation Practice and Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector. Click here to download the report. I loved the visualizations in the report and wondered if I could re-create them in Excel.

Here’s a screenshot from page 7 of State of Evaluation 2012. The visualization shows the percentage of small, medium, and large nonprofit organizations that used quantitative and qualitative evaluation practices. Quantitative practices were more common than qualitative practices, and medium and large organizations were more likely to use these practices than smaller organizations.


And here’s what I made with a little Excel elbow grease:


The formatting’s not identical, but that’s not the point. Did you realize that you can manipulate Excel to produce almost anything you want?

I challenge you to re-create this State of Evaluation chart in Excel or R — no expensive software allowed. Email me your submission or tweet an image to @annkemery. I’ll post the solution on March 12, 2013.

What do you get for playing? A coffee or beer together, my treat, the next time you’re in DC; a workout for your brain; and bragging rights. Game on!