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What time period should my report cover?

If you are looking for guidance on how to define your reporting period, we have included some helpful guidance below.

What is a reporting period?

Your report period is the date range that guides the information that you include in your report. You enter this date range in the “Overview” section of the report builder. Often, this date range is the same as your program year or a calendar year. You’ll want to ensure that the report dates cover the full span of program activities that you describe in the body of the report. 

 

What are the types of reporting periods?

  • Single year report (most common)
    • For programs that take 12 months to implement, or that operate continuously (i.e., no formal start or end dates).
    • 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, academic or program year, or your organization's fiscal year.
    • Programs that fall into this category may include:
      • Educational, after-school, or youth enrichment programs
      • Human services programs that provide continuous or as-needed services
      • Reports representing multiple continuous programs or initiatives
  • Uniquely defined report period
    • If your single implementation program (perhaps a repeating implementation each year) operates within a defined period of time, consider using those program dates. In some cases this may be a reporting period of less than a year or an 18 month reporting period. Examples of these kinds of programs include:
      • Short-term educational and professional development experiences
      • Conferences, summits, and convenings 
      • Policy, media, or advocacy campaigns
  • Multi-year report, annually updated
    • For programs that take more than a year to implement and begin generating results.
    • This kind of report is also relevant for programs focused on policy change or other longer term initiatives focused on big visions. In those cases, we recommend completing a multi-year report with annual updates to the report. 
    • An annual update means that each year you would be invited into the True Impact system to update your forecasted results and provide a brief note in the narrative section. 
    • Other programs that may fall in this category may include:
      • Feasibility studies
      • Construction or repair of a building 
      • University partnerships with the intention of hiring new faculty or strengthen university labs
      • Environmental partnerships with long term goals
  • Multi-year "class" or “cohort” report, annually updated 
    • This kind of report is typically used for educational programs that take more than a year to fully complete (e.g., a three-year apprentice program). For example, participants in a three-year apprentice program starting in 2021 would be in the 2021-2024 cohort. The following year, new program participants would be in the 2022-2025 cohort. 
    • An annual update means that each year you would be invited into the True Impact system to update your forecasted results and provide a brief note in the narrative section. 
  • Multi-year report, transitioning to annual reports
    • This approach is particularly relevant for programs that are just getting off the ground and will not see social impacts during the first year or so. In these cases, start your report from the beginning of your work on the program and extend it through the first year of service delivery. Service delivery is when the program is operational and engaging with your 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 such as a single year report, uniquely defined report, or multi-year cohort/class report. 

Helpful Reminders

  • For Initial and Interim reports, your report will forecast the impacts caused during this selected reporting period. This is an important distinction to note as there are often medium or long term impacts that are caused within a reporting period but not yet realized. 
  • Ensure that your program budget is aligned with the selected reporting period. It’s important to include only and all costs associated with the specific reporting period in your report.
  • Please select your report stage based on the following guidance:
    • Initial: reporting period is just beginning and you you will forecast your accomplished result caused during the identified reporting period
    • Interim: reporting period is underway and you will forecast your accomplished result caused during the identified reporting period
    • Final: reporting period has already finished you’ll be reporting accomplished results caused during the identified reporting period