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Visualising the History of a Club


A couple of years back I joined a Toastmasters club. Last year we celebrated our club's 20th anniversary, so I decided to pull data on the club from the club website and give a presentation on some statistics and visualisations of the club's history through its data.

I recently decided to tidy up my visualisations and make them into a blog post. There are a lot of aspects of an organisation which you might want to get insights on, and it can often be difficult to visually convey these aspects. In this post we will explore visualisations of

To start off, let's load up the libraries and data we'll need, and look at the dtypes of the data columns. I won't show any of the actual data here for privacy reasons.

The first table gives all the members who have been a part of the club, along with when they joined and when they quit. Well, not all the members. The online system seems to have been phased in after 2000, so the early data is a bit patchy.

The second table gives all the club's "officers" and when they were in office. Officers have such grandiose titles as "president", "sergeant at arms" (preparer of snacks), and "vice president public relations" (facebook page updater).

At Toastmasters you also get "education awards" as you move through the curriculum. The last table gives details about these awards.

Now that we've loaded the data, let's get stuck into some visualisation.

Membership Begin and End Dates

The first thing I want to look at is the number of members entering or leaving the club each year. Were there any mass exoduses? Were there any years where the club was unusually good at recruitment? Seaborn's jointplot seems like the ideal tool for this.

Notice how the $x=y$ line is clearly visible. Points can't go below this line because you can't begin your membership before you end it. The greater the verticle height from the $x=y$ line, the longer that person was a member. It looks like the longest membership lasted from 2005 to 2013! The biggest exodus occurred in 2010, which probably prompted a big recruitment drive in 2011 where we see the largest uptake of new members.


How long do members stick with the club? Here's a histogram of member "tenure":

Each bin is one semester long. So most members drop out after only one semester, and after 3 semester's almost everyone is done, although there have been a few hardcore members who've stuck around for many years. The longest membership was 7 years; no doube the 2005 to 2012 member we noted from the previous plot.

Education Awards

Let's look at what education awards were obtained in each year. This data isn't all that interesting, so we won't do anything with the educational awards after this.

The only thing to note here is that the curriculum changed by 2019, so a different set of education awards were available.

Total Membership

How many members has Varsity Toastmasters had over its lifetime? How many presidents? How many officers? Let's take a look at a cumulative histogram.

Several things to note:

Officer Transitions

Let's now look at how members tend to move through the ranks of officer positions. We'll do this by creating calculating a transition matrix for officer roles.


Individual Member Plots

Now we get to the interesting bit. I wanted to make a plot where we can see information about each member individually. This turned out to be surprisingly hard: there are so many members that to visually summarise what's going on with all of them normally results in the graph looking chaotic and ugly. But after several hours of trial-and-error, I eventually hit upon a visualisation that I absolutely love.