In this video, we briefly walk through the three first sections of any social impact report. We cover tips for successfully completing each section and guidance on how to approach some of the trickier aspects of reporting.
Overview - The overview section is the section that allows you to introduce your program to your report reader.
- Report Name
- The report name should be your program's formal name, so it is easily recognizable by people both inside your organization and externally.
- There is no need to reference an individual donor's name unless it is a formal part of the program (i.e., the donor has earned naming rights)
- This section allows you to tell as a bit more about your program. You’ll want to be brief but comprehensive.
- Provide sufficient detail so a person unfamiliar with the program will have a general understanding of how it works and what it's trying to achieve.
- Here's a good way to start: "We help [this group of beneficiaries] achieve [this successful outcome] by providing [these services, activities, or resources]." Then add details.
- Date Range
- This is the date range that the information you're reporting on occurs within. Often, this date range is the same as your grant agreement or program year. You’ll want to ensure that the report dates cover the full span of program activities you describe in the body of the report.
- Most programs report for a single year of operations, even if they have multi-year commitments from donors. If this is a continuously operating program, consider using the calendar year or your organization's fiscal year.
- If you are creating a report for a program or initiative that is in development, extend your first report to include the first cycle of service delivery (i.e., when services will reach the target beneficiaries, even if at only a small pilot scale). Although this may mean the report covers more than one year, this will enable you to translate your efforts into social impact. You may then use more traditional annual reporting for ongoing program implementation.
- Please update your logo with a version that is complete, easy to read, and centered. If appropriate, consider using a simplified version of your logo, as is often used for Twitter.
- You have three options to choose from in this section. If the program you are reporting on has yet to start or has just started, select Initial Report; if it's substantially underway, select Interim Report; if it's completed or almost so, select Final Report. You have now completed the Overview section.
Intervention - In the intervention section, you will further define your program’s services or activities.
- You’ll select the core service from this list. If your program could be reasonably be placed in multiple categories, choose the one you consider most important or fundamental. You’ll select a sub category as well. Don’t forget to ask yourself, does service or activity categories align with what is described in the description?
- You’ll then select the type of intervention your program provides:
- Is it “Direct Service” (a distribution of goods, services, knowledge, or training directly to beneficiaries or caregivers?)
- “Capacity Developed” (improving the efficacy of existing organizations or service providers through technical assistance, professional development, infrastructure development, or collaborations) or
- “Policy & Advocacy” (changing laws, policies, resource allocations, or institutional structures or systems through education, advocacy, litigation, or coalition building.)
The beneficiary section allows you to describe the end beneficiaries of your work.
- First, you’ll tell us about what locations your program serves. Report at the city level if possible, but if the service area is larger than that, you can report at the county, state, province, region, or country level, as appropriate. To ensure your location is recognized by our system, select an option from the autocomplete list that generates under the field you are typing in.
- If your program is being implemented in multiple distinct locations, you can enter each location in separate location fields.
- Then you’ll move on to describing the demographics of those you serve. Instead of describing the populations you work with in narrative form, you’ll select from various categories. The percentages of the Beneficiary Demographics do not have to add up to 100% - someone can be in multiple demographic categories.
- In the Description section, you have an opportunity to provide a more detailed picture of the people whose lives are being improved by your program, which can make your social impact report more compelling to readers.
- One additional note: if you are describing more than one distinct beneficiary population here, you might consider creating separate reports for each, so you can more easily and clearly track the distinct impacts.