How SGSOs Share Impacts

The resources on this page have been shared by SGSO Network members, and curated by 2021 National SGSO Leadership Institute working group members Amelia Bird of ESY NOLA, Beth Bacon of FRESHFARM, & John Fisher of Life Lab. We invite you to contribute your own resources to share with the SGSO Network on the topics of program assessment & sharing results.

Overview

Sharing program impact in strategic ways with your stakeholders is a great way to ensure funding, buy-in, and engagement in your work. While SGSO staff support for program evaluation and formal communications can vary greatly, we have opportunities to share about our work all the time, from in-person conversations with funders and families, to documents, social media, and blogs, to tours and presentations for community members. 

On this page, you will find a compilation of 

      • Communications project management tools,
      • Promising practices for sharing impact, and
      • Strong examples in a range of formats. 
 
The key is to let impact data find its way into all types of your communications, and to remember that stories are a powerful way to make your impact come alive for your audiences.

Promising Practices for Sharing Impacts

  • Plan Communications by Audience
  • Write Clear, Concise Content
  • Use & Repurpose Data
  • Use Storytelling
  • Use Visual Elements
  • Practice Cultural Relevancy
  • Define your stakeholders, and identify which communication tactic will reach each
  • Relate back to your mission or goals in terms that resonate with your target audience
  • Be accurate and honest


Communication Planning Tools

Simple Communication Plan Template
Detailed Communication Plan Template
ESY NOLA's Data Blueprint Flowchart shows how evaluation data will be collected, stored, and ultimately how it will reach each intended audience.

 

  • Use plain language and avoid internal explanations, jargon, acronyms. (Try writing so your neighbor will understand.)
  • Be succinct; focus on most relevant info and specific outcomes/findings.
  • Make the text scannable with sections, message headers, lists, and other visual cues.
  • Reduce the data 'clutter' -- choose one point to make for each display of data, and be sure to repurpose strong pieces of data in different formats to reach different audiences
  • Use message titles that help readers interpret graphs or other data visualizations
  • Try to use both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Use anecdotes of success, quotes, images paired with a message caption, and/or a story or snapshot of an experience or outcome 
  • Consider telling stories on a micro level (student or family) or a macro level (school, city)
  • Resonate with emotions to make your data more engaging and relatable
  • Use design principles to help readers navigate the text, break up the content, and clearly notice the key points.
  • Tell a story with an image to help the reader relate to and remember the content
  • Use only a few colors and types of visual elements
  • Use asset-based language when talking about students, program participants
  • Seek review from diverse voices/perspectives to ensure your impact reporting is as culturally-responsive and anti-racist as possible


Additional Resources

Ways that SGSOs Share Program Impact

  • Social Media 
  • Slide Deck / Presentation
  • One-pager / Poster / Graphic
  • Website Impact Page
  • Blogs & Program Story Highlights
  • Newsletter (external)
  • Verbal Sharing
  • Internal Sharing – staff/board data party, internal newsletters, staff meeting updates, “elevator pitch” practice, etc.
  • Press Release & Press Coverage
  • Annual Report
  • Program, Project, or Impact/Evaluation Report
  • Regional School Garden Survey Reports

Examples of Sharing Impact

Newsletters (External)

Stay connected with stakeholders.
Show the work and impact of your organization in short stories and photos.

Medium

Effort

Audience: Organizational contact lists: volunteers, individual donors, funders, allied organizations, external partners, teachers/educators

  • Link to longer articles on blog or website
  • Vary your content, from program updates to events, and resources to reminders.
  • Include data, stories, images, quotes and/or anecdotes to show impact 
  • Use design to call out impact messaging and/or link to or attach stand-alone pieces focused just on impacts.

Slide Decks / Presentations

Communicate program highlights and outcomes through a screen-based presentation format.

Medium

Effort

Audience: Organizational contact lists: volunteers, individual donors, funders, allied organizations, external partners, teachers/educators

  • Utilize as many media-rich options (videos, sound, images) as you can
  • Bring data to life through charts, videos, infographics, images, and quotes
  • Invest in a well-designed slide deck template, as it can be modified for a wide variety of purposes and audiences. 
  • Consider creating a template with examples of different slide layouts and a selection of slides that share imagery and impacts reflective of all your programming. 
  • Remember “less is more.” Try not to fill each slide with too many images or lengthy text/lists.

Social Media

Engage with the online community in a highly visual, short, and versatile format.
Communicate program successes, outcomes, and asks to a wide audience.

Medium

Effort

Audience: Strangers (new to organization), general audience, volunteers, allied organizations, relatives of staff, staff, participants, community members, funders.

  • Use multiple platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) because audience demographics vary by platform, and consider the purpose/demographic of each social media channel before committing and tailoring your content to each. 
  • Engage your program participants in social media through groups, direct sharing, and response to their tags. 
  • Train staff social media stars (staff members who are proficient and have followings) or build a system for receiving content from those involved in direct programming so content stays fresh and comes from those closest to the work. 
  • Build social best practices for your organization that integrate your values, safekeeping measures, and cultural relevance.
  • Use data point graphics regularly (ie, as a monthly / bi-monthly feature), and know that this can be as easy as a single participant quote over a photograph.

Internal Sharing

Communicate the results of evaluation practices with program staff and leadership to inform program adjustments, build buy-in, and celebrate successes.

Medium

Effort

Audience: Program & Admin Staff, Board Members, Leadership, Partners within Organization

  • Make data a standing item on staff meeting agendas 
  • Give staff stakeholders a say in research / data collection, especially if they are responsible for it, with a focus group, pre-project survey for evaluation, or in informal check-ins and meetings. 
  • Throw a Data Party with your staff, with questions and break-out groups to engage staff in active reflection and discussion about evaluation results (when they reflect, they have greater understanding and investment in program adjustments) 
  • Include results in internal communications tools, like newsletters

Verbal Sharing: tours, phone calls, relationships, community forums

Share organizational successes and impacts through story and data, goals, and future focus with external partners in informal, flexible formats (tours, phone conversations, community forums) that can also be opportunities to hear the wonderings, interests, and objectives those parties have about your work.

Varied

Effort

Audience: Wide range from general community to program supporters

  • Prep your staff spokespeople through a dedicated training so they get feedback on their elevator pitches
  • Prep spokespeople with a story paired with a statistic to back it up
  • Keep data and anecdotes fresh; before speaking to a group check in with program staff to get fresh content aligned with the interest of the group you’re speaking to
  • Make time to ask questions and listen to your stakeholders, as this is a form of program monitoring. 
  • Cater to the individual: send a handwritten note or email to a single person to share a data point or success you know will hold weight for their interest
We don’t have visual examples of verbal sharing 😉

Impact or Results Webpage

Share your areas of impact in an accessible, sharable snapshot

High

Effort

Audience: General Audience looking to learn more about the organization, current and potential funders, potential staff and participants

  • Provide concise findings with links to supporting reports or longer descriptions where needed
  • Organize and interpret results/findings with high level categories and message headers so users can quickly absorb the main points
  • Use graphics or images to help tell the story of data, successes, and/or the impact
  • Consider including a call to action and/or acknowledgement of funders
  • Use photos and quotes
  • Keep text concise and at an accessible reading level

Blogs & Program Story Highlights

Conveys timely points of impact in a short format: stories, anecdotes, and images

Medium

Effort

Audience: General audience looking to learn more about the organization, stakeholders (to show evidence of work and impact), current and potential funders, potential staff and participants

  • Share stories, evaluation results, videos, photos, and the voices of stakeholders
  • Link to these pages in funding requests, advocacy, and outreach
  • Link to press stories to lend credibility.

Annual Reports

appeal to funders and partners to provide financial support by summarizing a program’s work, including a summary of impacts and accomplishments in the past year.

High

Effort

Audience: General public, foundations, individual donors

  • Utilize digital and hardcopy content with strong imagery and graphics. 
  • Engage the reader in easy-to-digest highlights and details for readers to “go deeper” on your program impacts. 
  • Include survey or statistical based impact results, programmatic summary or highlights, student/program participant quotes, list of staff and board, overview of mission or purpose, new programmatic accomplishments, an outlook of future programming, and a finance/budget summary.

One Pager / Poster / Graphic

Communicate annual program results in a branded, brief, compelling, and easily digestible format.
Communicate a variety of results: qualitative data, quantitative data, outputs, and images

High

Effort

Audience: Funders, partners, volunteers, donors, partner organizations, collaborators, and general public

  • Use a clear, simple layout with the most compelling data.
  • Keep text brief. Limit content to what can tell the clearest story, and what has human impact and voice (Don’t try to share everything in this format).
  • Use bullet points, pull out quotes, and vary text presentation to move the eye around and draw attention to certain things.
  • Make the branding clear. Limit to 3-5 colors that repeat, if possible.
  • Use 1-3 photos (including one with eye contact by program participant) and quotes by various stakeholders for emotional sway.
  • Use icons to highlight your data points, even if they’re not quantitative.
  • Keep text at an accessible reading level, and avoid internal jargon and heavy use of acronyms.

Program, Project or Impact/Evaluation Report

Describe program or project impact through detailed data, stories of implementation, and/or impact in a longer comprehensive document

High

Effort

Audience: Donors, granting organizations, partners, partner organizations, collaborators, and general public

  • Organize results by program area for easy reading
  • Integrate quotes and photographs to vary the format and add interest
  • Use images, icons, data visualizations, and quotes to guide reader through dense text
  • Use subheads and message headers to help readers scan for content
  • Include interpretation to make some or all report content accessible to a general audience 

Regional School Garden Survey Reports

Share regional garden data, participant demographics, garden uses, challenges or indicators of success, and physical site elements.

High

Effort

Audience: School garden collaborators such as grantors, donors, school districts, government agencies, and community based-organizaiotns.

  • Ask appropriate questions to identify assets and needs that can direct future programming and/or justify funding requests. 
  • repurpose survey questions from past surveys to create a comprehensive survey. 
  • have a well defined purpose and intended outcome of your survey results to prevent a long survey with unnecessary questions.

We invite you to contribute your own resources to share with the SGSO Network on the topics of program assessment & sharing results.