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.
Impact Storytelling is an art and strategy because only pictures do not tell the story and only data does not prove the impact.
What should we include in our impact communication?
- Executive Summary
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.
- Impact Goals: Connecting back to the Actionable Impact Management Volume One: Groundworks.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Voices of Beneficiary:
- Enterprise Accountability:
- The depth of Impact Results:
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.