Most campaigns use spreadsheets to manage their data — from keeping track of campaign contacts and donations to documenting and analyzing social media and email data. That’s a lot of data, and whether you have to organize it, summarize it, or analyze it, you’ll want to be efficient and precise.

So, what should you know about spreadsheets before joining a campaign?

Top Three Spreadsheet Skills:

1. Sort and Filter Data

This function will help you control which data you want to see. For example, instead of sorting only by last name, we may want to sort by donation capacity and then sort alphabetically. Sheets allows multi-level sorting so you can specify how finished data should appear, letting you add as many sort rules as you want to get the data order just right.


2. Functions and Formulas

Perform quick and accurate calculations that will help you better analyze your data. Whatever your job is on a campaign, you’ll need to analyze your data to help answer important questions like:

  • How much money has your campaign brought in?
  • How many individual donations did we get in July?
  • How much money did we raise through email fundraising in August?

Functions allow you to automate these equations. Instead of calculating everything by hand, you can let your spreadsheet do the work for you. If math isn’t your forte, functions and formulas are your friend.


3. Pivot Tables

Pivot tables analyze data in the same way that certain functions do. However, unlike functions, they report back a graphic representation of that data analysis. It’s a table of statistics that allows you to sort, group, total, average, or otherwise summarize data all in one place.


Ready for more?

If you want to learn more about filters, or what functions you can use, check out our Spreadsheets 101 course to become the spreadsheet master on your campaign!

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Dana Bottenfield

A Kansas native, Dana stowed away in a haystack bound for New York City when she fell off the truck in Chicago, IL at the doorstep of a children’s book publisher. She traded in her country roots for a laptop and a pile of manuscripts to help authors and publishers create children’s books for over a decade. With a knack for creative and technical writing, she eventually found her way to the field of instructional design. Spurred to action by the 2016 election, Dana joined the curriculum team at NDTC to help Democrats run better and more efficient campaigns.