In this article you'll find some sample language to help explain the source and quality of your social impact results when reporting internally or externally.
At True Impact, we believe it's important to be as transparent as possible regarding the source and quality of your social impact results. Below you'll find some recommended langauge to help your audience better understand the what is behind your social impact results.
Recommended language re: source of your results:
We measure our grantees' impacts through True Impact, our third-party measurement partner, which calculates project outcomes using standardized models and indicators. True Impact uses a claim calculation to determine the portion of those impacts attributed to our company.
Recommended language re: quality of your data:
True Impact takes several steps that substantially improve the accuracy of social impact reporting compared to typical approaches.
- First, True Impact’s reporting platform provides nonprofit users detailed guidance on how to avoid confusion commonly associated with differentiating between outputs, interim outcomes, and end outcomes.
- Second, True Impact requires back up and further explanation of each reported impact. This includes details on their direct measurement approach, or the research they are using to make evidence-based estimates (each of these we consider high-quality data). If they are unable to do so, they identify the social impact as a “guess” so we can properly contextualize the data they provide (which we still consider useful, but of low quality).
- Third, True Impact reviews each submitted draft report in full, testing for internal consistency and reasonableness, and offers feedback and guidance to each nonprofit to help ensure accuracy and transparency.
Self-reported outcomes are not new in this sector. However, True Impact's guidance, backup requirements, and review process brings a new level of accuracy to nonprofit partners’ outcome reporting.
Recommended language re: forecasted vs. final social impact results
True Impact's reporting system guides nonprofits through creating a social impact report no matter what stage of program implementation they are in.
If a nonprofit is just starting their program or if their program or support period is underway but not complete, they report the impacts they anticipate generating at the end of the program or support period. Nonprofits are then asked to update the report with actual results at the close of the program period. As a result, there is a strong incentive to create projections in the Initial Forecast or Interim Reports that are accurate as possible. We track both final results and the variance between the projections and actuals - key metrics in our performance improvement efforts and investment decision-making.