Making impact transparent means putting the results achieved into context.
This involves putting the project’s basic information into order – resources expended, leadership and oversight structures, finances, etc. – and pair this with the results achieved within the overall context of the logic model:
- Did the activities achieve the desired results (or milestones)?
- If no results can be determined: Are there reasons for this, or can you predict when results will begin to appear?
Reporting transparently on a project’s results means bringing the community’s needs, the target groups, the project’s offerings and the project’s results into a logical and easily understood relationship.
Drawing on the project outline, the report should answer the following questions:
- What activities and measures were adopted, and with what objective? What resources were needed to carry out the activities or provide the services?
- What results (outcomes and impacts) were achieved? What target groups were reached, and what specifically has changed in their living situations? What lessons did the organization learn – also from missteps?
- What is the outlook for the follow-up period?
- Which methods were employed in order to determine and document these various issues?
A coherent overall picture can emerge only when key numerical figures are combined with qualitative statements. Alone, resource-expenditure records, participant lists and the number of events carried out say nothing about what social impact the project has achieved.
Occasionally, individual aspects come to light that you don’t want to communicate – what could be viewed as “undesired results.” Of course, you can keep these to yourself if you prefer. However, we would make the case that you should to a reasonable extent report at least in part on unpleasant results too.
New breakthroughs emerge only through lessons derived from failures. Moreover, to the extent you show the ability to deal with failure, you enable attentive third parties to learn from your experiences too. However, if there is altogether too much devil in your details, you could limit your reporting to the basic results and misperceptions.