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Impact Perspective 

The latest global trends in social impact measurement, management

Like any other storytelling, Impact Storytelling is also an art. In your social impact report how do you mix qualitative data with quantitative data? And tell a story which not only communicates intended social impact but also represents all the stakeholders, brings back learnings to the beneficiaries, brings funding to scale good results and fills the gap in large development picture. It should also be is an honest and transparent method to build future steps on it.

Storytelling Impact is an art and strategy because only pictures do not tell the story and only data does not prove the impact.

Using Impact Learnings for Communication of Social Initiatives

What should we include in our impact communication?

Social Impact Report Design

This is perhaps a most critical section that should be written in the end after all the impact results are aggregated. More in-depth and quality results will help you in creating the most convincing summary. Depending on your target segment, you will have a different messaging. For example, for non-profits, often president or executive director’s message can be very effective.

Read More: The must have tools for monitoring and evaluation

Social Impact Goals

Depending on your role, you are either reporting overall organization’s work, or a portfolio of the investment, or a single initiative's or program's effectiveness, or social return on investment of the programs.

Impact goals can be outcome-oriented or based on indicators.

1. Outcome-oriented: 

This can be represented in two ways. One, aligning with your mission and project goals or globals goals such as sustainable development goals (SDGs) or community impact goals.

2. Indicators-oriented:

While there is no clear guideline, we recommend managing indicators internally to monitor social, financial and operational is very important for collective impact reporting. Often we recommend using five key indicators with three years of comparison to see. While this process works well, often sustainability reporting tends to be more verbose as they are designed for a regulatory purpose.

Impact Goals: Connecting back to the Actionable Impact Management Volume One: Groundworks.


Impact Storytelling & Impact Learning

Charts can be very effective in communicating your impact. Depending on what you are trying to communicate, you could employ a variety of charting options. For example, portfolio or demographics can be easily be represented on pie or donut charts. Progress on an individual, batch/cohort can be represented using radar chart and program effectiveness can be represented using bubble chart.

Read More: How to choose a software for Impact Monitoring and Evaluation


Using Beneficiary Voice in Impact Storytelling

The best report should highly consider including direct beneficiary voice with pictures and stories. Feedback loop based on direct reporting, for example on the website, provide a anonymous feedback which can often show that organization is truly transparent. The transparent organization should develop simple approach such as net promoter score (NPS) or progress out of poverty (PPI) based approach and involve beneficiary in their feedback and storytelling.

Read More: How to evaluate impact of Social Innovation Programs?


Social Accountability while Communicating Impact Learnings

While beneficiary voice and story are critical, typically there are many stakeholders involved in any organization's mission. The organization should develop a comprehensive approach to define how each stakeholder helps improve program outcome. Based on impact management goals (see above), a comprehensive framework should be developed that demonstrates that enterprise is effective in a whole range of accountability: financial reporting, governance, social performance, and environmental reporting.

Read More: How to communicate on Social Impact Assessment


Depth of Impact Learning & Communication 

The most effective funders often involves the key supporting organization in developing an effective framework. Often they not only define outcomes and metrics but also the dept of data collection, data aggregation, summarization, and reporting. It is often useful to develop a data trust relationship (and not just personal trust relationship), as good data management on enterprise level helps serve their client or get a better product feedback, making them socially accountable.

The impact story is only worth all the effort if it can be communicated to the audience effectively. How will you reach your audience? It is a science of meeting them where they are. Read in detail about Impact communication in Actionable Impact Management Guidebook Volume Four: Communication

Learn More: Impact reporting

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