Accountability and Reporting to stakeholders
Beyond the regular operational reports to the SMT and board, community organisations have a responsibility to report their performance to a wider stakeholder group. This is traditionally formally undertaken on an annual basis to coincide with legal reporting requirements that organisations formed as companies or charities have. This also creates an opportunity to make further use of the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Reporting at this meeting is particularly important as it is at this meeting that a number of the board will be elected for the following year and so it is right and proper that their performance during the previous year be open to scrutiny. Be aware that communication and accountability don’t just start and end with AGMs, and that a variety of methods of communicating to different key audiences should be developed.
How impact and other performance measures are communicated is a key consideration. Case studies are an excellent way of highlighting success. Just as a picture tells a thousand words a vivid story is often more powerful than a page of dry statistics. Talk to people who have benefitted from the work of your organisation and find out what differences it has made for them.
When demonstrating impact, presentation is also crucial. Think about innovative and creative ways to show your success. Written reports and booklets have their place but new media opens up a range of eye-catching and cost effective alternatives. Websites are now the first port of call for many people who want to learn about your organisation and development. Make sure it is easy to use and clear to follow. Include multimedia like videos on the site to bring your organisation to life.
Highlighting success should be integral to your work, not just an add-on. When planning a project think about how you can leverage publicity opportunities, always ensuring service delivery is not compromised. Don’t get too caught up in statistics and methodology but do work hard to improve your understanding of what you do. It is this understanding that should then be used to help you tell a simple story about your organisation and your development.