To meet the standard in full, you report using documents that are suitable, interesting and relevant to your audiences – for example, reports, blogs, newsletters, bulletins, or postcards. The depth of your report reflects the scale and complexity of your work.
Despite a wide variety of possibilities, most social enterprises default to presenting evidence in some form of written format.
Done well, the narrative contained in written reports provides a great opportunity to communicate fully your performance and impact.
While the exact content will vary, most conventional written reports set the following basic elements:
Like all great stories, the best reports are those written in an engaging, personal, and accessible way.
Impact reporting can, however, take a surprising variety of written forms, each designed with a separate purpose in mind:
Whatever format you select, try to ensure that you start with a clear purpose, plan your structure around the story, and keep it simple. Write as concisely as possible, focusing on the needs of readers and only the information they need to understand your story.
Course 8 in the Impact Practice series from the Social Enterprise Institute provides tips on a variety of written reporting formats.