Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tableau Service Corps?

The Tableau Service Corps is a community of bright, dedicated individuals who want to help nonprofits make more of an impact through the use of their data.

What types of projects can I get help with?

There are no set criteria for what makes a successful project to work on with a Tableau volunteer, but here are some general criteria to keep in mind. The project should be:

  • Self-contained. Tableau volunteers sign up for short engagements of no more than ten hours, so a project should be realistic to finish during that time. We hope that you and your Tableau volunteer establish a mutually beneficial relationship and want to work together in the future, though!
  • Matched to the talents of the Tableau volunteer you choose. Each Tableau volunteer has a different skill set. Some are experts with transforming dirty data and making it work with Tableau, others are UX and visual design masters and have built some of the best dashboards in existence. When approaching a Tableau volunteer for a project, your end goal and their skills should match up.
  • Have a Tableau component. Even though many of our Tableau volunteers have skills outside of working with Tableau, the Tableau Service Corps is intended to leverage the Tableau volunteers knowledge of Tableau on any project.
  • Achievable without face-to-face interaction. Tableau volunteers live throughout the globe, and the best match for your project may be halfway across the world. If your Tableau volunteer is able to meet you in person - great - but please plan a project that can be accomplished through digital channels.

Should I have an idea of my project prepared for my Tableau volunteer?

Although your Tableau volunteer will have some initial questions for you, you should come fully prepared with what you are trying to accomplish, and an initial idea of how you might go about this.

How do I find the best Tableau volunteer?

Each member of the Tableau Service Corps has a specific area of expertise that maps back to Tableau's free training categories. You can browse members of the Service Corps by these areas of expertise, or perform a keyword search on the main Tableau Service Corps home page. You can compare Tableau volunteers by reading their biographies, interests, and skillsets.

Who comprises the Tableau Service Corps?

The Tableau Service Corps is comprised of Tableau employees who want to help nonprofits better use their data for good. We will also be inviting Tableau advocates on an invite-only basis who are not current Tableau employees - these include Tableau Zen Masters, Tableau customers, and Tableau partners.

I just need help with my data. What keywords should I search for?

If you don't know whether you need help with exploratory data analysis, calculations, or formatting, no problem. We've put together a quick guide to help.

  • Nonprofits just starting to use Tableau: we'll help you explore how Tableau can help your nonprofit. Terms like intro analysis and product help are up your alley if you want to build some bar charts or scatter plots. If you know your data needs some cleaning or reshaping, terms like data cleaning, data reshaping, and data prep are words to search for.
  • Nonprofits with some experience using Tableau: you've built a couple of dashboards with your data, and now you want to go further! This may be a good time to consult with a Tableau Service Corps member about visual best practices or dashboarding, among other topics.
  • Nonprofits that are Tableau experts: time to go deep! You've been using Tableau for a while and want to explore statistical modeling, advanced calculations, or other more advanced topics. You may want to connect with a Service Corps member who has expertise in statistics, R integration or calculations.

Once I select a Tableau volunteer, what can I expect?

Your Tableau volunteer will suggest a few times he or she is available to meet. This first meeting will be an introduction and scoping session to determine the project you are trying to accomplish, and to evaluate any initial challenges. It is up to you and the volunteer to agree on next steps, should you need to follow up. Following this meeting, your Tableau volunteer will start working on the project, reaching out to you with questions, concerns, or places to collaborate with you or your team.

What is the Tableau Service Corps?

The Tableau Service Corps is a volunteer network of Tableau experts who are eager to help non-profits understand and do more with their data. As a member of the Tableau Service Corps, you will have access to volunteer opportunities to put your skills to use helping nonprofits throughout the globe use data to effect change.

What do I get out of working with the Tableau Service Corps?

The Tableau Service Corps will facilitate rewarding, skill-building connections with nonprofits throughout the world. You will have the opportunity to:

  • Create change in the world by helping nonprofits be more efficient
  • Build larger networks of professional contacts
  • Further develop professional skills through project-based work
  • Spend time volunteering, which may be eligible for an employer donation match
  • Receive acknowledgment from Tableau Foundation for the work done with nonprofit organizations

Why did you create the Tableau Service Corps?

Tableau Foundation started the Tableau Service Corps in mid-2015 to address a core challenge we saw many nonprofits tackling - they had years of good data, but no ability to derive insight from that data. The Service Corps was conceived as a way for data professionals to make a dent in the lack of resources nonprofits have access to that can help them work with data.

In addition to addressing the needs gap related to data analytics, we also wanted to provide a meaningful way for Tableau Software employees to put their analytical skills to use with nonprofits. volunteering using professional skills (skills-based volunteering) has traditionally been difficult, as matching professional skills with need has been unwieldy. The Tableau Service Corps solves this for the analytics realm by focusing on Tableau and data prep skills. This allows nonprofits that know they need help with these areas to quickly connect with a volunteer who has the technical expertise and shares the desire to help the world as the nonprofit does.

How can I sign up for the Service Corps?

Thank you for your interest! In order to become a member of the Tableau Service Corps, you need to:

  • Have access to a copy of Tableau Desktop that you can use as part of your work with nonprofits
  • Have at least six months of experience using Tableau (Desktop, Server, or Online)
  • Prepare representative examples of the work you’ve done with Tableau (if proprietary, descriptions are sufficient)

You should also think about what primary area you’d like to help nonprofits with – you can select from Data Prep & ETL, Getting Started, Connecting to Data, Visual Analytics, Dashboarding and Stories, Mapping, and Calculations.

To have a member of the Tableau Foundation contact you about next steps, let us know how to get in contact with you and we'll be in touch shortly.

What does a typical Service Corps project look like?

One of the exciting parts of the Tableau Service Corps is no two projects will be the same. Because nonprofit organizations address so many different world and societal challenges, nonprofits will accordingly have diverse needs. Given this challenge, here are a few examples of Service Corps projects volunteers have worked on.

  • An education-focused nonprofit wanted to understand how students tended to transfer between school districts and how custom shape data could be used to map this within Tableau. A Service Corps member met with the nonprofit in person and put together a few maps and other visualizations to answer these questions, along with a tutorial of how he put this together to help the nonprofit answer similar questions themselves in the future.
  • A human services nonprofit needed to visualize transactional data they gathered from incoming calls that was stored in a proprietary database. The Service Corps member who worked on the project realized the core challenge was accessing the data. He then built the organization a MySQL database and wrote a Python script that would automate the ETL from the proprietary database to the MySQL database, which they could then connect to and visualize information in Tableau.
  • An advocacy organization had already used Tableau, but wanted to get an expert to consult with on visual best practices prior to pushing a lot of their work to Tableau Public and sharing it with others. A Service Corps member helped the organization do a viz review of their work and worked with them on improvements to what they had already put together.