8. Reporting on Results /

8.1 Reporting publicly

STANDARD:

We report on our performance and impact every year.

To meet the standard in full, you publicly report on the main things you do, achieve, and change. This provides a transparent account that helps others to understand your organization and its impact.

All social enterprises, large and small, should really let their stakeholders know how successful they are in achieving change.

In doing so, it’s best to report on results in a way that encourages both engagement and action. The word ‘report’ is used here to mean any written, spoken, or visual account of the things that you do, achieve and change as an organization.


Done well, good impact reporting can really make a difference. It can enable your organization to:

  • Be more accountable by being transparent to stakeholders.
  • Raise your profile by communicating your work more widely.
  • Reach and inspire supporters by showing the good work you do.
  • Motivate your team, making them feel part of the story.
  • Provide information in a way that helps make better decisions.
  • Attract funders to invest with trust and confidence.

The key rule is to match the style of your impact reporting to your audience and its needs. This means taking time to understand what information your audience might want and how they prefer to receive it. We look at different styles of reporting in sections 8.2 to 8.4.


New Philanthropy Capital has helpfully identified six general principles that define how organisations should communicate their impact:

  1. Clarity. There is a logical narrative that enables readers to quickly and easily understand the work organization and its results.
  2. Accessibility. Relevant information can be found by anyone who looks for it, in a range of formats suitable for different audiences.
  3. Transparency. Reporting is full, open and honest.
  4. Accountability. The information tells stakeholders what they need to know, and provides reassurance.
  5. Verifiability. Claims about impact are backed up appropriately, allowing others to review them. 
  6. Proportionality. The level and detail of reporting reflects the size and complexity of the organization and its results.

These principles are about helping to tell your story more clearly, more openly, in a way that helps you to win support.

Try to commit to reporting regularly, in whatever format you choose. An annual cycle that involves the public reporting of financial and impact information is regarded as a good practice.