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A How-To Guide to Tableau for Nonprofits: Pricing, Setup, and More

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Dan


Collecting data can improve your nonprofit’s success. With this information, you can make informed decisions on how to attract more donors, launch effective fundraiser campaigns, and more.

However, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the data. It can also be challenging to present data in a way that others easily comprehend. Let’s face it, spreadsheets full of numbers are not the most visually exciting topic. Therefore, you should consider Tableau, a powerful data visualization tool that can take your nonprofit reporting to the next level. 

To help you determine if Tableau is suitable for your organization, we will address the following topics:

Let’s go!

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Tableau for Nonprofits: What Is It?

Tableau is a data visualization software that uses analytics to create detailed, insightful reports. This software has helped many nonprofits and businesses understand their data and become more stakeholder-focused. Tableau can take data from almost any system — that power is unparalleled in the industry.  

Tableau’s software program has many uses for nonprofits. For example, it can help you visualize fundraising campaign results and track email marketing progress. In addition, Tableau has an active community that provides support, training, and encouragement in using the software. 

Tableau does not only offer software. In fact, Tableau employees sought to take advantage of the company’s popularity by starting a foundation called the Tableau Foundation. This nonprofit initiative promotes social good through data equality. It hopes to create a social impact by researching the intersection between data and equity issues. Some of the Tableau Foundation’s most important initiatives include: 

  • Advancing gender equality

  • Advancing racial justice

  • Changing the climate action narrative

  • Combating hunger

  • Ending homelessness

  • Eliminating infectious diseases

tableau-nonprofit-pricing-how-to-set-upOliver gives a thumbs up for Tableau's various features!

Tableau Features

Tableau offers many features, making it one of the premier program evaluation tools for nonprofits and businesses alike.

Here are some of Tableau’s top features:

  • Customizable dashboard: With a healthy mix of numerical and graphical information, Tableau’s interactive desktop allows you to review donations, pledges, event attendees, and more in the style or layout of your choice. 

  • Versatile importing: Tableau allows automatic imports from Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Sheets, and other programs. 

  • Heightened security: The Tableau server offers authentication procedures and row-level filters to restrict data access for specific users. Tableau also connects with Kerberos and other security services. 

  • Simple collaboration: Tableau makes it easy to collaborate as a team with real-time data exchanges. 

  • Visual variety: You can organize your information using maps, charts, graphs, and more. The program can also offer suggestions if you do not know which visual to use for which data set. 

  • Predictive analysis: Tableau’s software uses linear regression to identify trends and perform predictive analyses with your data.

  • The Tableau Service Corps: This agency is a network of volunteer Tableau experts. Nonprofits can tap into it if they need help with small projects.

Tableau Pricing

Initially, most nonprofits could not afford Tableau, as it costs about $2,000 per user per month. Tableau now offers a more budget-friendly price point of $70 per user per month, though this still may be out of reach for small or medium nonprofits. 

To help these nonprofits, Tableau also offers free licenses for 501c3 tax-exempt organizations with budgets of less than $5 million! There are, however, a few limitations on eligibility for this program:  

  • It is not available in all countries.

  • The nonprofit cannot be a government agency, school, college, healthcare provider, or mutual organization.

  • Any religious organization that solely promotes a religion is ineligible. 

Even nonprofits that do not qualify for the free program can receive a discount. Tableau offers a two-year subscription for a single user at $74. The free two-week trial version can also help you decide whether this product is worth the expense.

Pro Tip: Do not feel like you have to purchase access for multiple users. If you are on a budget, a single-user account gives a leader access to Tableau’s visuals, which they can then share with the rest of the organization.   

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How To Set Up Tableau

There are many ways to install and customize Tableau. Here is a direct and intuitive route to set up Tableau on a single Windows-based device: 

Step #1: Verification

As with any software, before attempting to install Tableau, verify that your device and Windows version are within the required parameters. Doing so ensures that Tableau can install and perform correctly. 

Tableau indicates that you need the following: 

  • Four cores or 8v-CPU

  • Initial node: 64 GB system memory

  • Additional node: 16 GB system memory

  • At least 15 GB of available disk space

Step #2: Installation

To install Tableau: 

  1. Double-click the installation executable file (.exe). If you have problems activating the file, check that your firewall is not blocking it. 

  2. Install the file. 

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to choose a hard drive location. 

  4. Create a new Tableau installation, or add an additional node.

  5. Choose the default activate-to-run (ATR) setting if you intend to use Tableau online. 

  6. Click "Install." 

  7. Wait until the installation is complete before clicking "Finish." 

You are now ready to activate your product! 

Step #3: Activation

For Tableau to work, you must verify that you have an official license. Here is the process to activate your product: 

  1. Sign in to the Tableau Service Manager (TSM) web page.

  2. Go to the "Activate" page, and input your product key.

  3. Choose "Activate Product Key."

  4. Choose "Next." Do NOT click this button if you have more than one product key to input.

  5. Register your organization’s information.

  6. Enter your preferred node settings, and click "Initialize."

  7. Create an admin account with a username and password.

Once you have completed the above steps, you can start using Tableau!

Pro Tip: While you should be able to follow this basic setup procedure, sometimes issues occur. If you have problems, try Tableau’s customer support portal. There, you will find answers to the most common questions about Tableau. You can also try the Tableau community or send Tableau an email.

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Alternatives to Tableau for Nonprofits

Like any product or service, Tableau is not for everyone. The following alternative programs provide data analytics as well.

Blog_Images-Articles_Eva-worried

Eva is worried she won't be able to find any alternatives. Don't worry, Eva, we have a lot of suggestions below!


Springly

Data storage and analysis are part of our all-in-one nonprofit software here at Springly! You get everything you need to run your nonprofit, including a CRM, event planner, website builder, email marketing system, and accounting suite. 

We offer a free version of our product with limited functions. Our paid product starts at $25 per month for up to 100 contacts. Before you commit to a paid plan, you can try the software for free for 14 days.

SAP

SAP Analytics Cloud is a central, cloud-based data analysis platform that provides self-service visualizations through its SAP Lumira tools. With user-friendly access, useful data analysis, and trend prediction, SAP stands out from the competition. However, it has limited integration support and dashboard customization.

The standard package is $36 per user per month.

IBM

IBM’s Cognos Analytics with Watson software offers personalized dashboards and reports. It focuses on self-service capabilities to speed up the analysis process. Other notable features include drag-and-drop customization, plugins, and mobile support. However, you may struggle to manage its many functions.

The basic On Demand package is $10 per user per month with a 30-day free trial.

Qlik

Qlik Sense is an advanced analytics platform. It offers real-time predictive calculations and can link with Dropbox, Hive, Microsoft Excel, and other software. With its advanced features, the setup can sometimes be too complicated to do on your own.

Qlik has a starting cost of $30 per user per month.

Alteryx

This advanced analytics module offers statistical and predictive modeling, automation, spatial analysis, and more. It is sophisticated yet user-friendly and flexible, supporting all types of data. All of these state-of-the-art features come at a cost, though.

Alteryx’s initial plan is $39 per user per month. You can get a free trial, though it has limited functionality. 


Pro Tip: Most data analytic software solutions have the same features with different user interfaces. You never know which user experience will work best for you and your staff, so we recommend using the free trials that many of these platforms offer to test them before you make a financial commitment.

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Final Thoughts

Data research is an integral part of managing a nonprofit. It can help you create initiatives and identify trends.

Tableau provides everything your nonprofit needs to be successful on this front. However, some nonprofits find that Tableau is too costly. In that case, try one of the alternatives from this article. They can all take your nonprofit to the next level.

Enjoyed the article? Download it to keep or share with others!

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FAQ

💡How much does Tableau cost for nonprofits?

Tableau is free for registered nonprofits that have operating budgets of less than $5 million. If you do not qualify for this free program, you can get two years of Tableau at a hefty discount of $74. Find out more. 

🔑 How do I set up Tableau for my nonprofit?

To set up Tableau, you must download and install the software onto your computer and then activate it on Tableau’s website. Find out more. 

📝 What are some alternatives to Tableau?

Some Tableau alternatives include Springly, SAP, IBM, Alteryx, and Qlik. Find out more.

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