If you want to grow your impact, the second greatest mistake you can make is not establishing performance and outcome measures that are aligned with your mission. The greatest mistake you can make is to have powerful impact data related to your mission and not share it.
Having the “best kept secret” is not a good description when your mission is to change lives and change circumstances. If the great work and impact your organization is achieving is not known by new clients, partners, and funders; then you are denying others from the change your organization brings about. One of the reasons organizations who have created high-performance measurement cultures are significantly more likely to increase revenues and external relationships (see Impact & Excellence for more on high-performance measurement cultures) is because of their increased capacity to influence key stakeholders to take decisive action. Success only occurs when leaders combine data and outcomes measures with key communication strategies specifically designed to bring about desired actions and behaviors, including favorable funding decisions, increased referrals, and elevated community support.
Once data are collected, the next step is to present your findings in a compelling, ethical, and impactful manner that captures the unique impact the organization is making. Consider these five best practices for communicating impact data to attract more clients and support to your cause.
- Share unexpected outcomes to capture an audience’s attention, pique, or renew interest in the organization. Begin with “Did You Know?” followed by a statement that is unknown to or counterintuitive for the intended audience. For example, did you know that only 24% of government and nonprofits are strategically making decisions with data? (source: Impact & Excellence)
- Present concrete facts. This will increase the likelihood that data will be fully digested and remembered by those who consume it. One effective way to turn outcomes data into concrete facts is to report a success rate and then couple that with the cost of that success. For example, a workforce development program might say, 76% of individuals we place into jobs remained employed after one year. For every $2,000, we can successfully employ one individual.
- Be concerned with credibility. It is important to be transparent in how data were collected to ensure that the information will be seen as credible to decision makers. Without credibility, audiences are less likely to believe and act on the information. Data collected by an external evaluator is often viewed as more credible than data collected internally. If you collected the data yourself, make sure you can defend the method and validity of the tool used and highlight any limitations of your methods.
- Remember the emotion. Incorporate your data with an emotional element. This will make your audiences care about the data you are sharing. Share a case study or client testimonial that exemplifies the hard facts you are presenting. This will draw the audience in and your data will help them rationalize any decisions they will make.
- Present data in a way to inspire action. When developing communication messages, begin with the end in mind. What do you want people to do with this information? Do you want them to donate, change policies, or sign up for a program? Examine your data from the point of “So what”. What does this data inspire someone to do? If nothing, then either you need to collect different data or craft the “So what?” message around your existing data.
Need assistance with measuring and communicating your impact and value? Seeking help designing systems and strategies to become high performing? Measurement Resources is here to help! We offer customized workshops and consulting services designed to align your mission, leadership, culture, measures and performance.
Contact us today for your FREE 20-minute strategy session to learn more!