Tips to bring impact reporting to life

Dave Duarte, keynote speaker at the recent Nation Builder Management Impact Reporting Guideline launch, highlighted the importance of narrative and story-making as key for effective impact reporting.

As part of a team that evaluated more than 100 NPO reports, Dave discovered that those with the best reporting, visuals and stories gained the most funding. In a competitive world this unfortunately means that organisations that might have potential for impact doesn’t necessarily get the funding they need or deserve. The best impact reports were those with good visuals and data, and a harmonising narrative to help contextualise the data.

Even the most complex decision-making processes can be aided through the right narrative. Reporting should therefore not only be seen as an afterthought created at the end of a project but should be an ongoing process of co-creation and storytelling. But how can storytelling effectively be integrated into impact reports? How can organisations ensure that their impact report isn’t just a set of facts, but tells meaningful stories that links output with impact?

The impact reporting hero’s journey

Dave advises that the Impact Reporting Hero’s journey can be used as a guideline for impact reporting:

  • Aligning impact reporting with strategic intent.
  • Disclosing relevant information.
  • Providing transparent and timeous information.
  • Working towards collaborative outcomes.
  • Creating consistent and comparable reports.
  • Making data accessible.
  • Ensuring that data is protected.

Dave furthermore advises organisations to simplify the stories they are telling and to make it about the cause, not the organisation. When being clear on the impact, it changes the inputs, activities and outputs. When creating an environment that fosters co-creation and celebrates storytelling, meaningful stories will be told through impact reporting.

Dave Duarte was a keynote speaker at the Nation Builder Impact Management Reporting Guideline launch – streamlining the reporting landscape for investors, NGOs and corporates. Dave specialises in digital leadership, story-making and innovation and has run digital campaigns in over 50 countries. 

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