Six Steps to Effective Impact Reporting

Measuring your community investment work can be a tricky business.

First, tracking employee volunteering is often time consuming both for you and the charities you’re supporting.

Next, it’s difficult to compare the positive impact your various projects have on the community.

Finally, once you’re on top of all the numbers, they’re almost impossible to explain to others!

Impact reporting is the engine of community investment.

Despite the tribulations of measuring your work, the impact report is a crucial part of any CSR practitioner’s arsenal.

Impact reporting tells you how successful your community investment projects are. It presents upper management with the outcome of their investment while telling customers and employees about the great work you’re doing.

What’s more, with a bit of forward-planning and fine tuning it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.

Here are six steps to help you start recording your efforts, celebrate your results and take your community investment programme to the next level.

1. Keep it simple

Keeping a record of who did what, where, sounds a lot easier than it is. Many CSR practitioners struggle to get their staff to log their charitable activities.

The clearer and easier the process, the more people will log their charitable giving. Nothing will dissuade people more than a complex, time-consuming recording system.

A good option is to streamline your CSR recording with your existing HR platform, with different codes to define the different contributions people are making.

2. Incentivise

Another way to get people logging is to incentivise the recording of charitable giving. What works varies from company to company, so don’t be afraid to play around with different approaches and get creative!

Two great examples of logging incentives are matched-giving systems where the company gives a contribution for each employee donation recorded, and inter-departmental competitions with prizes.

The latter works well with recording both volunteering and fundraising. Adding a little competition encourages people to log their hours and doubles up as a team-building activity.

3. Start by recording simple KPIs and build from there

Start out by recording three figures: volunteering hours, pro bono hours and fundraising. Early stages of impact reporting are about having some KPIs to keep on top of your programmes and show others that the projects are running smoothly.

Once you have this covered, you can consider fine-tuning the process. A natural progression is to further split these basic KPIs into more detailed subsections.

Volunteering can be divided into skills-based and non-skills-based, while fundraising can be split into cash and in-kind donations. If you’re interested in what KPIs to measure (and how to value them) Benefacto have developed a great methodology for defining and valuing giving.

4. Tell a story

Recording your community investment numbers is only half the battle: the way you tell the story will determine whether people listen or not.

Simply publishing your KPIs will not get people to take notice. Talking about the outcomes of the projects is a much more compelling way of presenting your work.

Use outcomes like hot meals served, cups of tea brewed or one-to-one employability sessions held to tell the true story of what you’ve achieved.

A good rule of thumb is that data always needs stories, and stories always need data.

5. Celebrate your success

It’s important to stop and celebrate once you’ve done all the hard work of getting employees to volunteer or fundraise. Celebrating by running a ‘Thank You’ campaign is a great way to raise awareness of your achievements while instilling a sense of pride and creating buzz around the programmes.

A ‘Thank You’ campaign will encourage previous volunteers to return next year and inspire those who missed out to take part next time.

6. Benchmarking

Having a record of what you achieved allows you to demonstrate how your CSR is improving year upon year; benchmarking can give external context and place your efforts amongst your peer group.

If you’re leading the pack, that’s a great story and can help your business to attract customers, talent and investment. It might even help you to develop CSR as an integral part of your organisation’s business model.

For a free tool, check out GivX, a simple framework to benchmark your community investment. Most businesses will have the data to hand, so completing the assessment is really quick. This year the results of the annual awards are also set to be published on a per capita basis so you can compare your organisation to others regardless of size.

To read more about impact reporting visit

For more information on employee volunteering programmes visit

About the Author

Doug is Benefacto’s community coordinator.
He takes care of marketing strategies and helps
to encourage volunteer participation within organisations.

Heart of the City’s 2016 Impact Report highlights the impact that our programme has in enabling our members to develop their responsible business programmes. The report also features the impacts of our business members through their structured community programmes.
Learn more about how membership with Heart of the City can help your organisation take a strategic approach in developing or further enhancing your responsible business activities.
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