If you’re a nonprofit leader, you’ve probably seen the term “impact report” floating around the internet. But what is it? And why do so many funders want to see them? An impact report is a document that describes how your nonprofit achieved its goals and helped people in need. Impact reports are also known as program reports or outcome evaluations, but they all share one thing in common: they provide concrete evidence of how well your organization performed compared to its goals.
What is an impact report?
An impact report is a tool that can help you engage donors, volunteers, and employees with the impact their gifts are making. It’s a user-friendly document that demonstrates how your organization is making an impact in its community.
The most important thing to remember about creating an impact report is that it needs to be easy for people to read and understand. After all, if it’s difficult for your audience — whether they’re donors, volunteers or staff — then you won’t get anyone else involved! Here are some guidelines for creating an effective report:
- Keep it simple
- Make sure every section has a clear purpose
- Make sure each section has relevant data (don’t include anything extraneous)
- Make it EASY for people to donate to you while reading!
Pitch your nonprofit as an impact investment
Impact investing is a rapidly growing trend, but it’s not just a fad. Impact investing is a way to make money while doing good, and it can help your organization raise more money and get more visibility.
If you’re new to the concept of impact investing, here are the basics: An investor invests his or her funds into an organization that will create social change in some way.
The investor gets paid back with interest—and has the satisfaction of knowing that he or she was a part of something bigger than themselves.
While your nonprofit will never distribute capital back to your donors, you should absolutely think of your organization as an impact investment.
How To Leverage Your Impact Report
Engage major donors
Impact reports are a great way to engage major donors, who have never given before, or have not given recently.
An effective impact report can turn “cold” donors into hot leads for your development team. The more you pitch the impact your donors are making via your organization, the better.
Use your impact report to:
- Find new donors/funders:
- Be sure they fit your target donor profile(s)
- Keep current donors engaged with your work
- Impact reports are one of the most effective nurturing tools available for nonprofit marketing and development teams!
Impact reports can be a great re-engagement tool
Impact reports are a great way to re-engage donors, and they’re also a highly effective tool for donor retention.
An impact report is a perfect tool for engaging with your existing donors because it provides them with information about how their donations have helped put your organization on its feet. Impact reports can help you get more donations from existing donors by showing them the results of their previous contributions, which encourages them to give again in the future.
If you have new donors or prospects who haven’t yet made a contribution, an impact report can be invaluable in converting those prospects into actual donors by showing them that giving makes an impact—that their money will do something worthwhile.
Remember This Important Tip
…Funders want outcomes, not outputs
If you’re wondering what outcomes are, and why they matter to funders, let me put it this way: if you’re an organization with a mission to serve low-income families in your community and your funders provide grants for housing assistance, then the end result of their donation (investment) should be irrefutable proof that your organization is reducing homelessness in your target area.
The outcome is measured by looking at the data that comes out of your program—are more people being served? Are they staying in stable housing? Do they have access to healthy food?
But there’s also another important piece here: outputs. Outputs are the steps taken towards achieving the desired outcome: number of people who receive assistance through housing vouchers; the number of clients referred by social workers; etc.
If you want more tips on how to measure outputs and outcomes, read our blog on the Theory of Change and the blog on impact metrics.
We’ll publish your report for you
Nonprofit leaders are often overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities they face and rarely have time to evaluate each specific program and then translate that impact in a way that is meaningful and easy to understand for their donors.
Let’s face it. Nonprofit leaders have too many responsibilities. You have to:
- Raise tons of money
- Recruit and train volunteers
- Lead your employees
- Provide tremendous services to your beneficiaries
- Prepare for board meetings
- Create marketing collateral
- Raise even more money
- Hire team members
- Manage payroll
This is exactly why we created Social Impact Solutions. To be the go-to service for nonprofits who need help measuring their impact and raising tons of money online.
We’ll help you with the content and design, distribute it to your audience, measure its impact, and report the finding to your stakeholders.
We’ll create an impact report for your organization
We’re a team of experts who have helped many organizations create meaningful impact reports and raise greats funds in the process.
From writing to design, we can help you build an impact report that will communicate your organization’s impact and inspire others to support your work.
Our team has worked with:
- Organizations looking to understand the scope of their impact so they can grow in new ways
- Foundations looking for nonprofits who are making an impact in their communities
- Donors interested in supporting organizations that are making a difference
Impact reports are an excellent way for nonprofits to demonstrate their impact, engage new donors, raise tons of money, and scale their organizations.
Whether you want to raise more money or re-engage major donors, we can help you create a fundraising campaign around the report that takes advantage of its value as a marketing tool. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of publishing an impact report, contact us today!