Tableau software is now free for eligible non-profit organisations and educators

Heart-warming news for non-profits who want to save the world via data analysis from Tableau via PRNewsWire:

Tableau Foundation, part of Tableau Software’s (NYSE: DATA) corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, announced today that it will offer free licenses of Tableau Desktop to nonprofit organizations

Qualification criteria is currently listed by Tableau as follows:

  • Be registered as a 501(c)(3) organization (global availability coming soon)
  • Operate with an annual budget of $5 million or less
  • Not be a school, college, mutual organization, healthcare organization, or government agency

If you’re an educational facility then you might already be able to get some free copies courtesy of the longer-standing Tableau’s academic program (but I believe only for use in the classroom, and not backoffice school analytics – this is kind of a shame as UK schools currently seem in quite desperate need of saving money and having decent data analysis tools behind the scenes as well as in-classroom!).

For those that are eligible and interested, the above is a very generous offer you shouldn’t turn down! For reference, Tableau Desktop Professional normally retails around $2k. The tool is easy enough to use, with a great set of online resources and large helpful community, such that you can get by without paying for training.

2 thoughts on “Tableau software is now free for eligible non-profit organisations and educators

  1. This is a big step to get Tableau in front of the eyes of folks at nonprofits. Our shop does independent hosting for nonprofits that use Blackbaud software. We recently just purchased Tableau Server and have added “Visualization as a Service” if you will for nonprofits that happen to use The Raiser’s Edge.

    One of the challenges with Tableau for nonprofits is simply getting at the data. Generally the database manager has to export data, dump it into Excel, transmogrify it, and then work some Tableau magic on it. It’s great for just getting started, but very labor intensive every time the data needs to be refreshed.

    Also, I think it would be helpful if there were a “library” of worksheets and dashboards for nonprofits. Granted, everyone is going to be a different in how their data are represented. But a library would at least provide a starting point for those that are new to Tableau. If nothing else, they would take the idea behind a worksheet and run with it. There’s nothing quite like having a working example when using something new like Tableau. I know Tableau Public has this kind of thing in theory. But something that is targeted toward nonprofits would be a huge step.

    After all at the end of the day, what really matters is user adoption. If Tableau is free, what does it matter if nobody uses it? The more that nonprofits can collaborate and support each other in their Tableau efforts, the more likely they will find true value. After all, the end result isn’t simply pretty visuals but more dollars raised and an understanding that creating a data driven culture in fundraising ultimately will be an indispensable asset that is worth the effort in not just learning Tableau, but leveraging it to toward better decision making.


  2. Thanks for commenting. I really like your visualisation as a service idea for non-profits. Whilst the basics of Tableau are easy enough for a data oriented person to pick up and use with just following some of the online training (if they are lucky enough to have a data-type person!), I would guess it’s beyond the capabilities / resources of a lot of smaller organisations to install and maintain a server. Tableau Online gets around the administration issue but that’s not especially cheap once you get a few users. I hope your customers embrace what you offer!

    To your point, I’m sure non-profits have at least as much stress in data transforming as for-profits, possibly moreso if trying to keep to a sensible budget! I was happy to see Tableau getting a few helpful features (unpivot, data interpreter and so on) in recent versions but it’s surely not ever going to be a full ETL type tool.

    For help on that, and the issue of sharing useful dashboards – although I have no experience of their work – I see Tableau also offer “Tableau service corps” – a group of volunteers who will help with any Tableau stress points. There’s a FAQ at which mentions both cleaning up data and dashboard building. Perhaps that’s a service that some of your clients might enquire about (assuming it does not conflict with the work your company does for them of course!).


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