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We’re at the start of 2019 and Tableau Foundation’s 2018 annual report is already done. Non-profit and foundation annual reports usually take six to nine months to produce and release, sometimes spending six figures to pull everything together.
Regrettably, these well-manicured and polished annual reports contain charts and figures that are woefully out-of-date by the time they make their way into anyone’s hands.
Our Living Annual Report has been in place for the past three years and refreshes weekly with new grants, donations, and figures without any substantive work on our part. We host it on Tableau Public so anyone can view it and we embed it in a variety of other places, including our website and below.
I’ve written about the Living Annual Report on this blog before (here and here) and delivered a session at Tableau Conference, but something I haven’t shared is the process of changing the design of the Living Annual Report.
Unlike a traditional, printed annual report, the Living Annual Report can be updated whenever you want or need it to be. This is most often a data refresh so you’re showing the most current data, but you also have the flexibility to change what visualizations you’re presenting, the overall look and feel of the workbook, and how users interact with the visualizations.
If you’re used to preparing a static or printed annual report, being able to make changes in minutes and have those changes reflected in every copy that exists in the world is an enormous change. For us, it’s given us the ability to build easy responses to questions people couldn’t answer before, correct errors and omissions, and even change the way the report feels over time.
Once you have your own Living Annual Report, here’s what I’ve found are best practices when making changes.
If you’re interested in building your own Living Annual Report, here are some resources available to you.