How to make sure your impact reports deliver

make-your-impact-reports-deliver

Published January 18, 2016

Are you giving your impact reports enough value? If you’re an organisation in the not for profit sector, impact reports can be powerful tools to engage your stakeholders. Here’s what to bear in mind and how to make the most of them!

What are impact reports?

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.

Why impact reports are important

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.

How to make your impact reports engaging

Communicate clearly

Make sure your readers can easily take away these main elements, even if they’re just skimming the document:

What you’re about

  • The purpose and mission of your organisation
  • Your goals – the more clearly defined and measurable these are, the better!
  • What plans you had / have for realising these goals

What you’ve accomplished

  • Demonstrable, verifiable results showing what you’ve achieved as well as your learnings from the past year – be honest and transparent so your readers can be confident in your organisation!

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.

Think visually

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?

Making the most of your impact report

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.

Digital channels

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.

Social media

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.

Events

Consider distributing print copies of the report at relevant events – it’s a great way to show what you do!

Our top tips for impact reports

If you’re looking for more guidance on developing your next impact report, from concept to content and design, call us on 01483 746 650 or email Hello@somethingbig.co.uk.

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