Published January 18, 2016
Impact reports are overview documents – usually published annually – in which charities, social enterprises, and other not for profit organisations explain what progress they’ve made in achieving their goals.
Impact reports are your chance to tell your stakeholders what you’ve accomplished. By clearly demonstrating what you’ve achieved, you can ensure that your target audiences will recognise your organisation as one which has a strong direction and truly makes a difference, give them more confidence in you, and inspire them to help you achieve more.
Make sure your readers can easily take away these main elements, even if they’re just skimming the document:
What you’re about
What you’ve accomplished
What next steps you have planned
But don’t get convoluted – use simple, straightforward language and make sure the document follows a coherent structure to make it easily accessible.
Don’t just make your impact report a text heavy document with tables and charts! Think about what layout and design will engage your readers, and use images to liven up the content: photography is a great way to show your work in action, while infographics can convey facts and figures in a much more accessible way.
Connect with your audience
Beyond clear language and engaging visual presentation, testimonials from stakeholders can help you build an emotional connection with your target audience. In addition to the people who benefited from your activities, think about including quotes from your staff, volunteers, and funders – what do they value about your organisation?
Once you’re happy with the content and design of your impact report, think about how you’ll make it public.
Many organisations will only distribute their report by email once it’s published and then upload it to their website, which means the document has a comparatively short lifespan. Fortunately, there are many ways you can use your impact report to showcase what you’ve done throughout the year.
Upload the full report on platforms like Slideshare and Scribd – this is also great from an SEO standpoint! (For tips on getting started with Slideshare, click here.)
Also consider uploading visual content like infographics separately on Slideshare.
Do Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn play a large role in your marketing? Share excerpts from the report (photos, parts of the infographics, key quotes), linking back to the full document.
Consider distributing print copies of the report at relevant events – it’s a great way to show what you do!
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