Is Your Impact Measurement Engaging the Next Generation of Donors?
As we move into a post-COVID context, funders across Ireland are asking how to navigate the changing landscape. It’s no secret that donors’ expectations have evolved. They want to know where their money is going, and how much of it is spent on the cause to which they donated. So forward-thinking CEOs and leaders of funding organisations are trying to lift the curtain on their outcomes and provide far more transparency on the investments and grants they make.
The practice of impact measurement, or outcomes measurement, allows a funder to quantify and communicate the effectiveness of its mission with stakeholders. When done well, it transforms your donor relationships, increases trust in your stewardship, and positions your organisation to continue receiving funding even in tough times.
The need for powerful impact measurement
In essence, impact measurement is a way to quantify inputs versus outputs. It shows how the donor’s contribution and your organisation’s time and effort translated into real outcomes that the donor cares about. That’s particularly important for millennials, a technologically sophisticated and impact-driven generation, quickly becoming the main demographic of givers reshaping philanthropy. These donors are more discerning, and want to know the efficacy of every euro donated to your organisation.
The problem is that efficacy is hard to measure, and even harder to report on. Tech solutions that enable transparency and open data are a good start, and many funders put up impact measurement dashboards on their websites that showcase their numbers. But those solutions are still somewhat one-dimensional and not particularly engaging.
How to captivate your donors with impact measurement
When a donor gives to your organisation, what they really want to know is what the outcomes were, where those outcomes took place, and who was affected – and they want to interact in real time with that information. The best dashboard or stewardship report can’t do that.
This is where impact mapping changes the game. SmartSimple Cloud’s Impact Map feature overlays your reporting onto a geographic map, and makes that map interactive. Donors can zoom in or out on any region or funding recipient, and read more on your results in that particular context. Showcasing location-based outcomes removes the guesswork for donors – they can see your impact beautifully visualised and geomapped for them. Simply put, it’s one of the most powerful ways to engage your stakeholders and make your data open, transparent and consumable.
[Impact Map screenshot with markers]
Harnessing technology solutions to build trust
Public scrutiny of philanthropy is intense these days, and it gets worse when you’re unable to communicate effectively with your donor base or the government bodies funding you. In its 2020 report, Philanthropy Ireland found that COVID-19 reduced organisations’ ability to engage and communicate with funders. That reduction in communication triggered an interventionist reaction in some donors. Sound familiar?
Impact mapping allows your stakeholders to deep dive on metrics most important to them, with the assurance that the outcomes they see are current. And for your team on the back end, tracking and reporting on those outcomes happens in minutes, without the headache of paper-based systems.
All this demonstrates good stewardship, which is key for organisations working in advocacy or that receive funds from government bodies. Impact maps tangibly differentiate you from other organisations competing for the same funding. The more visible your impact measurement, the better positioned you are in times when budgets are tight.
Want to see an impact map in action?
Philanthropy Ireland will soon launch its own impact map, powered by SmartSimple Cloud, showcasing the outcomes of its members across the country. Launching in the first quarter of 2022, it will be a powerful visualisation of the work of Ireland’s philanthropic sector.
Or perhaps you want to see an impact map that visualises your own organisation’s impact? Contact Brendan Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Managing Director of our Irish and EMEA operations, based in Dublin. Brendan has helped many funders measure and report on their impact, and would be glad to help you explore what this might look like for your organisation.
By Brendan Bradley
SmartSimple Software Ireland Ltd.