Scoring Points for Better Impact Reporting
By: Brian Komar & Eric Barela
Corporate philanthropy is going through an evolution. Currently, the Fortune Global 500 spends almost $20 billion on CSR collectively and according to PwC, CEOs will continue increasing their investments. What were once small philanthropic endeavors are now large corporate giving programs spanning geographies, connecting employees, managing time, and granting millions of dollars to maximize impact at scale. Businesses have become powerful platforms for change. But we are still missing one key element to shift the conversation from “how can we do good?” to “how can we continue to do the most good?” The answer – effective and influential impact measurement and management.
To lead with outcomes, we all need direction, and that’s exactly what leading measurement tools provide. One of the best tools are impact scorecards or reports that transparently define and depict impact from action to result. Scorecards are being embraced across the economy. Just take a look at Dell’s Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard and the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index – two organizations from two different sectors, using scorecards to promote equality in the workplace. And just as GPS has improved the way we physically navigate our world, technology has elevated impact scorecards – providing accessibility, transparency, and connection.
For nonprofit fundraising, reporting is key to donor activation and retention with a majority of donors actively seeking out information about the causes they give to. And while measurement is pivotal, it can also prove difficult for many organizations as nearly half of nonprofit leaders find it challenging to raise funds with high expectations of social investment returns.
Missing out on measurement is a risk, but technology provides an opportunity to measure impact – and collaborate to reach global goals The good news is that there are some simple and direct ways to streamline impact reporting.
What You Can Do
1. Begin with the end in mind: Engage your constituents early and often, then think about the steps that will help you succeed. What is your organization’s unique approach and what are the activities that will support you on your journey?
2. Lead with outcomes. Create programmatic roadmaps that illustrate the events connecting a program’s inputs to desired outcomes. This will help you identify specific moments to hone in on and will help you align your intentions. Make sure to reference standards like the UN Sustainable Development Goals to flesh out your framework and give it further context. If your organization is involved with impact investing, you can find a valuable resource in IRIS, an initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and a great tool to understand, measure, and manage how investment can create impactful financial and social results.
3. Collect the right data, all the time. Impact will change from year to year and you can only discover new and interesting trends if you’re collecting data at regular intervals. The right data is directly linked to your desired outcomes, so make sure to identity what is appropriate your organization and gather that information continuously.
4. Make your reports accessible. Treat your report like a story and make it easy to tell. Share your results both internally and externally by publishing accessible and timely reports for your key stakeholders including employees, donors, board members, and beneficiaries. This will also create an open exchange of data, helping your organization and others to do more good, in a better and efficient way.
5. Empower data-driven decisions. Tools like impact scorecards are most useful when they lead to actual decisions. Always keep in mind that you are collecting data not to archive, but to elicit change. Regular tracking, evaluation, and comparison of results will help your team make important improvements and let donors know the value they bring to impact results.
The best thing about impact reporting is that it begins and end with community. That’s why Salesforce.org created Expedition Impact — an initiative that is equal parts technology, community, and collaboration to help you with your mission. And to address the measurement movement, the first mission of Expedition Impact is to build a cutting-edge solution for impact measurement across organizations, “Einstein Analytics for Impact. Learn the latest on how you can better measure your impact by following the Expedition Impact Twitter and Facebook pages!
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