Impact Reporting – The what, when, why and how of it

Mar 16, 2022
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What is an Impact Report?

An Impact Report communicates to stakeholders, investors, customers, and the general public the tangible benefits of actions taken by the company to help improve a specific issue or problem. The report must capture the organization’s impact on the triple bottom line of People, Plant, and Profitability. It is pertinent to note that the report must mention, both, the positive and negative impacts of the organization’s operations.

An Impact Report isn’t merely about actions taken, but rather should be about giving readers a fair and transparent picture validated by results, while also taking feedback from stakeholders. This form of reporting would need to be backed with evidence and a summary of the lessons learned by the organization, going forward.

Why do you need an Impact Report?

There may be multiple catalysts behind your organization taking the step of creating and publishing an Impact Report, in addition to being widely considered a good corporate practice. Essentially, an Impact Report will help you:

  •  Review your impact on the triple bottom line against your vision and goals
  •  Establish trust with your stakeholders by communicating transparently and taking accountability
  • Encourage your staff to create social change
  • Communicate your long-term sustainability strategy to your stakeholders
  • Improve your services by engaging with stakeholders and addressing their feedback

When do you need an Impact Report?

Earlier, organizations published Impact Reports to deal with specific issues. However, that trend is changing as the benefits of creating Impact Reports annually or as a part of their Integrated Report, are becoming more apparent

The question of ‘when’ your organization needs to publish an Impact Report can depend on circumstances and the industry. For instance, non-profit and social organizations must report on their impacts, as it gives them the opportunity to showcase their activities over the past year, thereby building trust and confidence among employees, potential donors, and beneficiaries. Additionally, a transparent, clear, and evidence-based report would reassure current donors to continue funding the organization. Alternatively, corporations may choose to report on their impacts to control the narrative surrounding an issue that could potentially affect their business activities.

How do you create a good Impact Report?

A good Impact Report is one that adheres to the following guiding principles:

  • Transparently acknowledging the problem
  • Clearly stating the goals and decisions made
  • Defining the actions taken to positively impact people or the problem
  • Disclosing results produced
  • Providing evidence of the above
  • Providing evidence of the above
  •  Informing stakeholders of the lessons learned for the future

Additionally, the content of the report must be:

  •  Clear
  •  Accessible
  •  Transparent
  •  Verifiable

An effective Impact Report could be the vehicle to propel your organization to the next level. Its inherent nature includes clear communication between the company’s management, employees, and other stakeholders to get their clear and honest feedback, thereby creating a cycle of improvement and also increasing trust. It can help you showcase yourself as a responsible corporate citizen, thus attracting investors, boosting your brand value, mitigating risk, and driving long-term growth.

It is important to note that the process of data collection for your Impact Report must begin early on. Organizations that publish Impact Reports successfully every year start the process of data collection as soon as the previous report is released. Your organization must also inculcate a culture of collecting data with constant reviews to improve the quality of captured data.

If your organization is looking for an impact report with a ‘punch’, get in touch with Report Yak, We would love to talk about concepts, structure, content, and design to help meet your goals!