Talking about results

Many charities are very good at telling people about their outputs. But often, they struggle to translate this into what their work is actually achieving. How have their activities led to tangible changes in the lives of those they seek to help? NPC’s report looks at how charities in the UK talk about impact, and provides advice on good impact reporting.

Scanning today’s sector press and charities’ communications, it would be easy to assume that charities acknowledge how vital it is to communicate the impact of their work, and that funders seek evidence of impact when deciding which charities to support. But NPC’s latest paper takes a closer look at how charities communicate their impact, and finds that the reality is quite different.

NPC’s research found that whilst nearly all the charities we analysed were good at describing what they did—their outputs—less than half communicated clearly what changes they achieved in people’s lives—their outcomes. Charities in general are missing an opportunity: to communicate to potential supporters what they need and want to know.

Talking about results details NPC’s analysis of the annual reports, annual reviews, impact reports and websites of 20 of the top 100 UK fundraising charities. We highlight examples of good practice, and offer advice for charities wishing to take the report’s findings on board, and take practical steps towards communicating what matters, in the most effective way possible. 

 If charities want to survive and thrive in these difficult times, being able to communicate what they achieve will be absolutely vital.

Tris Lumley, NPC