The Newton Kansan used an illustration to simplify a city budget.
WHAT THEY DID: The Kansan chose to do a budget breakdown alternative story format to show how the city apportioned money from its general fund. Sometimes budget numbers are lost on readers, so the Kansan used a city-produced illustration that divides a dollar into percentages spent on public safety, admin, streets, parks and law/court. At a glance, you can really get a sense of the general fund.
TAKEAWAY: If you're trying to explain numbers, find a way that brings the numbers into perspective for readers. While the city produced that illustration, you could do something similar. Think of ways to make budget numbers make sense. You might do a By the Numbers alternative format, for example. Or you might stack coins. Heavy numbers call for something other than a straight story. Or you might write a story, but use a breakout for some of the numbers.