Data for Good: Crafting Impact Reports for Diverse Audiences
Our series continues with best practices for tailoring reports to employees, customers, and more.
What makes social impact data unlike any other data? Our numbers represent the time, money, and talent of real people trying to do good in the world. And that focus doesn't stop once the data has been collected. One of the most important things about social impact work is translating our reports for diverse audiences.
Four audiences who need social impact data
As you draft your impact report, it's crucial to remember that different stakeholders have varying expectations and priorities. Tailoring your report to specific audiences can lead to stronger engagement and deeper connections with your company's mission. Here are four key audiences and what they value in an impact report.
Employees want to believe that your company is making a positive difference in the world. According to a 2023 U.S. survey, 76 percent of respondents expressed a desire to work for a company committed to creating a positive impact. Employees, particularly millennials and Gen Z, often seek out companies that demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices, sustainability, and positive contributions to society. A lack of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives may lead some employees to feel disconnected from the company's values, which could potentially impact their decision to leave the organization.
Eighty percent of CEOs currently expect environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investments to pay off in five years. Data can help your leadership understand how to thoroughly suffuse sustainable principles throughout the enterprise so that ESG commitments are linked to real policies and outcomes.
Customers want to believe that your company's values align with their own. For instance, studies show that 82 percent of shoppers prefer consumer brands that resonate with their personal beliefs. Failure to align may lead them to seek alternatives.
Whether your organization is public or private, your shareholders want to believe that you're making responsible decisions that drive change in a financially responsible way. Financially-minded investors keenly observe the impact initiatives' social return on investment (SROI) alongside money spent on them.
How to craft a report that meets your audience's needs
Now that you understand your audiences and their needs, it's time to start on your report. Ask yourself: How can what I know about my audience inform my reporting? From format to content and distribution, this question should drive your work.
The format of your report should suit your audience's preferences and needs. For example, a highly technical or compliance-focused audience might appreciate data presented in easy-to-track tables. Employees, on the other hand, may prefer concise key statistics and engaging impact stories. Investors might expect a comprehensive report with dense information with financials.
Craft content that aligns with what your audience cares about and what you want them to do with the information. If your goal is to encourage customer loyalty through shared values, focus on highlighting your mission. However, if you seek investment from a VC firm, emphasize the positive change your company is bringing to the world.
Consider where your audience is most likely to access the report. Email might be effective for reaching employees, while customers may prefer non-intrusive outreach methods. Shareholders often look for the report on the company website, while social media might be a suitable platform for customer highlights.
Crafting an impactful impact report requires a comprehensive understanding of your diverse audience. By tailoring the format, distribution, and content to meet their unique expectations, you can create a report that resonates deeply and inspires action. Remember: Your people need data to make a wide variety of decisions, and they will thank you for giving them the information they really need.
"Data for Good" is a blog series from Deed aiming to help social impact teams use data to do ever-better work. We'll see how some of the world's most inspiring brands get it done, from lululemon to United Talent Agency. We are building on the foundation of our “Social Impact Storytelling” blog series and “Maximizing Social Impact” webinar series by offering concrete advice for a data-driven approach. (Read the first installment on best practices for everyday data management and annual reporting.)
Deed is an all-good-in-one workplace giving and volunteering platform trusted by Airbnb, lululemon, Ripple, and more. We take a data-driven approach to everything we do, from employee engagement to event management. If you’re ready to see how the way you capture and share your data can make a difference, book a live demo today.