6 Ways to Share Your Impact

| By: Angie Winschel
Angie Winschel

Storytelling is no longer a unique idea in communication and marketing; we all know that we need to tell stories to help people understand and remember who we are and what we do. We’ve also got many ways to accomplish this: on our website, email, social media, newsletters, traditional media, annual reports. Your challenge today is to make sure that the stories you tell help donors and friends understand the impact of your work, and not just the “busyness.” Information about your events and your awards and your Board members are great awareness builders, but they aren’t explaining the reasons that your organization is a worthwhile partner/investment/community builder.

Here are six ways you can be sure to accomplish that:

#1 – Outcomes, not outputs:  It’s easy to want to pull some of those statistics you’re gathering and use them to communicate your impact. But double-check your pound signs. Are you sharing things like # of children, # of days, # of trainings? Those are outputs, the activities of your work. To understand your impact, we need the outcomes, what has changed, how are things improved, what has stopped happening, what is the new normal. 

#2 – What If: Ask your team: How would our world/state/region/city be different if we weren’t here? Better yet, ask some of your participants: How would your life be different if we weren’t here? Quote the answers in your publications.

#3 – Make Data Visual: It’s one thing to tell potential donors that you can save the lives of more children and become financially self-sustaining in five years. It is another thing altogether to show them what will happen.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.38.47 AMDetail from Meds & Food for Kids capital campaign

#4 – Spell it out: Tell people what they are supporting as simply and specifically as you can. Use icons if necessary to make concepts seem more concrete. For example, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation wanted to further define what they meant by Patient Care and Research. The resulting headlines and icons from their 2013 Impact Report tell a great story on their own.

stlouis_childrens_hospital_impact_report_2013

#5 – Use Video: Images tell a profound emotional story and connect with us on many levels. Video can take us to places we’d otherwise never go and lets us understand needs we’d otherwise never know about. The video in this microsite from charity:water does both of those.

#6 – Make It Personal: Help those reading or seeing your content to place your impact in their lives. Begin with a universal experience, like the St. Charles City-County Library Foundation did (being read to as a child), and build in messaging that connects readers with your work.

stchlibrary_foundation_annualreport

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.06.00 AM

What other ways can you share your impact?