If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you heard Tyrion Lannister say in the series finale: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? No. It’s stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.” And no one knows the power of a compelling story more than people in nonprofits. We use stories to motivate staff, recruit volunteers, and excite donors. These stories show the work we do day in and day out means something. But when it comes to reporting your impact to funders, stories alone may not be enough. Increasingly, nonprofit organizations are finding anecdotes aren’t enough to truly show the change in their communities. But how can you incorporate something as dry as data into a creative and compelling nonprofit story? Read on for some of the ways our clients have done it!
Roca is an organization in Massachusetts who works to disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty among at-risk youth populations. Their intervention model involves relentless outreach and a commitment to their participants. This commitment requires a leveraging the power of data to understand the impact their efforts have. In the video below, Roca combines data with a heart-warming nonprofit story to share how they are able to effect significant change for the populations they serve.
A quick way to draw attention to the work your organization does is to highlight one strong piece of data on social media. Family Compass in Dallas works to help prevent child abuse and neglect through home mentoring programs, as well as Community Education and Outreach programs. They provide services directly in the homes of parents and children in high-risk communities to help the parents develop parenting skills. Research has shown that developing these habits early in a child’s life leads to reduced instances of abuse and neglect long term. Below, Family Compass highlights their upcoming luncheon with a clear data point about their impact. This is especially useful on social media, where you may have only a few seconds to catch someone’s eye!
Good Shepherd Services helps more than 30,000 youth and their family members in underserved communities throughout New York City. They offer many programs, including out-of-school time activities, foster care and adoption, and domestic violence support and advocacy. With all of the work they do, it’s critical that they effectively convey their impact and demonstrate success. Good Shepherd Services now compiles an Annual Report to show just how effective their programs were over the past year. In this Annual Report, they have an entire section devoted to sharing their impressive outcomes: 99% of families in their Preventative Services stayed together and avoided foster care placement! Sharing this kind of data not only demonstrates their programs are working but tells a powerful story to funders and participants.
By leveraging the power of your nonprofit’s data, tracking important outcomes, and highlighting your full impact, you have the opportunity to sustain and even increase funding to deliver more mission. At Social Solutions, our clients affect countless lives every day. That’s why we go above and beyond to provide tools to get the job done. We help nonprofits and government agencies get to the heart of their data so they can understand the full impact of their work. With the insights and evidence they gain from our software, our clients know how to maximize their efforts to do even more good.
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