Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Back to basics: 5 tips to communicate your social impact

At the start of the year we decided to write a Back to Basics blog series to answer some of the most common questions we are asked about social impact; we have covered what social impact is, how it can be measured and what Social Return on Investment is. To close the series we thought we would finish by offering 5 tips to effectively communicate your social impact.
 
In our previous posts we have considered the reasons why organisations should understand and measure the impact of their work. A lot of these reasons come down being able to communicate effectively with the people who matter, to explain to them what it is you do and why that work is important– that may be funders, donors, service users, your peers or your staff. 
 
If you have carried out a social impact evaluation you could end up with a detailed 60 page report full of brilliant statistics and feedback from stakeholders. But how many people are going to read that report buried on your website? Maybe your board, the CEO and a few invested donors if you are lucky. We suggest you take the information you have uncovered about your impact and tell the story in a clear and interesting way.
 
1. Make it personal
 
People like to hear about people.  If you have been running an employment service for people with learning difficulties and 50 people have got a job as a result of being on the programme that is a great statistic but people want to know the personal story behind that. Maybe John got a job in a cafe and goes to work every day now on the bus, he enjoys getting to speak to customers in the cafe and made new friends in his work colleagues. Case studies about individuals make it easier for people to understand the real difference your programme has made in people’s lives.
 
2. Pick your headline statistics
 
If you have carried out an evaluation of a programme you are likely to have come away with a wealth of figures and statistics about your impact. Don’t overwhelm people by trying to tell them it all at once, think about your organisations core aims and objectives and focus in on the statistics that best tell people about how you are achieving your mission.
 
3. Mind your language
 
Think about who you are speaking to and talk to them in their language. Is your primary audience funders and your peers? If so then it is fine to talk them in language they understand, tell them about your Social Return on Investment report and how you have achieved your KPIs. But if you want to tell your service users and potential community fundraisers about your work ditch any jargon and talk to them in plain English. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Make it visual
 
Help people understand what you are telling them by making it as visually appealing as possible. You don’t need to have an in-house graphic designer or a professional photographer to visually tell your story. Most people have a high quality camera capable of taking professional quality photos on their smart phone and there are lots of easy to use design tools available online to help you create a nice infograph summary of your findings. Check out Canva or Piktochart to start with.
 
At Gauge we specialise in providing  highly visual and accessible Impact Cards for clients. Take a look at some recent examples such as this one for the NOW Group and this one for Community Transport NI. Get in touch with us if you would like a quote for an Impact Card.  
 
5. Tell your story
 
If you have taken the time to evaluate your impact and communicate it in a clear way, don’t just leave that information on your website – tell the world! Spread the word about the work you care so much. You don’t have to spend money on a PR consultant to get some great coverage, anyone can try some simple PR tactics:
 
Contact your local paper – they are always looking for good news stories and human interest pieces.
Send a press release to online new sites – these sites have to fill their social media feeds with new stories all day so are always on the lookout for new content.
Phone your local radio station – would your CEO be willing to take part in a radio interview about the work of your organisation and the difference it is making? 
 
If your organisation is having an impact on the people it is working with make sure you tell your story well. At Gauge we are specialists in helping organisations from all sectors understand, measure and communicate their social impact. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you get in touch on 02890 234414 or info@gaugeni.co.uk
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN