Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on an annual report, compiling an impact statement or reporting out to a funder, clearly conveying what you’ve done – and why it matters – is key.
How will your organization communicate its impact in 2024 – and beyond? Will you develop quarterly or annual reports? Prepare an organizational impact statement? Host a series of events where key stakeholders – and target audiences – can hear directly from leadership about what you’ve done and why it matters?
While understanding the wants and needs of the target audience(s) is key, nothing is more important that clarity when it comes to communicating impact. Yes, beautifully designed documents can help to tell powerful stories and dynamic videos can humanize your impact but the information being reported needs to be compelling, concise and, most of all, perfectly clear. Without clarity, businesses – and nonprofits, too – can run the risk of being misunderstood by key audiences.
Talking About Impact: Start Here
Who are you trying to impress? Strategic partners? Key funders? Elected officials? Investors? And the list goes on. Understanding who you are talking to and what they care about most can help to focus the narrative and ensure the most salient information is at the forefront. Once you know who you are talking to, it’s time to hone in on the highlights.
Remember those tedious and highly detailed outlines you may have done for college or post-grad research papers? They’re back – and here to help. Outlining your vision for conveying impact can help with sequencing, flow and establishing a compelling storyline that encompasses all aspects of your organization’s impact. And, they make a handy checklist to reference when making the leaps from vision to copy to creative to end result.
Balancing Data Collection with Storytelling
It’s hard to argue with numbers. When a company consistently shows significant year-over-year growth or gains in market share, it can be hard to refute the organization’s success. But how do those numbers impact people’s lives? Are staff growing their skillsets and securing better-paying jobs? Are more subcontractors and vendors getting business – and growing their revenues – because of your company’s success? Are more people gaining access to critical treatments and services as a result of your growth? Every company has a story and these anecdotes can help bring a human touch to the roster of compelling stats being used to communicate your business’ impact.
Take a Multimedia Approach
Video, TikToks, Instagram Stories and Reels, flipping books, Facebook Live, direct mail…the mediums through which an organization can showcase its impact are nearly limitless. The two key questions to answer before settling on a communication channel are (1) where are my key audiences and (2) which medium(s) best suit the content? Answering these questions will give you a good starting point for picking the best delivery methods and optimizing the reach of your content. Pro tips: Factor in adequate – and ideally extra – production time to ensure the best end product goes out the door. Assemble a small focus group to test the content with. And, have a plan in place to distribute as widely as your organizations sees fit.
While it can be daunting to cull through reams of data and reporting to find the most salient information to share, a carefully crafted narrative that clearly communications organizational impact is a powerful asset. It can help to retain and more deeply engage existing audiences, cultivate new stakeholders, expand organizational reach, and more. And, with a solid blueprint in place, your company is well-equipped to communicate future impact in engaging, audience-centric ways.