4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Ramp Up Your Reporting Process
Applications are in. Funding is out. Now the first report is upon you! That came quickly, didn’t it? How do you build a report that gets the information you need and doesn’t create a burden for funded agencies taking precious time away from you both? Once you have reports, what should you do with them? Ramp up your reporting process by exploring four important questions:
Should we require reports?
You took great care to make the best funding decisions through your evaluation process. Now it’s time to affirm those decisions by following up with the agencies and programs you’ve invested in. To determine if you should require reports, ask yourself if the following elements are critical to you and your stakeholders:
• Verifying that your investments are helping achieve what was promised in the application.
• Identifying what’s working and what’s not to achieve your objectives.
• Uncovering opportunities for increased impact through service alignment.
• Tracking progress toward your community-wide goals.
• Sharing that progress with stakeholders in your community.
What information should we collect in our reports?
Did you decide collecting reports is important? Great! Now what should you include in those reports? The short answer: Information you will use! While the number of program staff skipping breakfast may have an impact on program service provision (it’s hard to do your best work when you’re hungry!), will you do anything with that information? Probably not. What you’ve collected in your application process will be a good guidepost to use when developing report content. One size does not fit all, but here are some elements to consider including:
• Budget information, including what was presented in the application and a point-in-time update for the reporting period.
• Performance measure progress updates.
• Demographic information showing who is being served through program services.
• Success stories and photos can be a powerful tool when combined with performance measure data. Engage your community’s heart and head!
What should we do with the reports once we have them?
Your partner agencies have diligently tracked the good work they are doing and the impact they are making. Don’t let good data go to waste! Once the reports are in it’s time to get some critical information out.
• Review reports to verify expectations and requirements for funding have been met.
• Identify bright spots and areas where improvement and/or additional support may be helpful to increase impact and fill service gaps.
• Provide feedback to your funded partners that includes praise and guidance for continuous improvement.
• Compile aggregate performance measure data to show the big picture of your investment.
• Share the impact the investment is having in the community with your stakeholders.
How can the right community investment management tool help?
It is great to have all the right elements in your reporting process, but without the right tool to manage it the process may be cumbersome and time consuming. e-CImpact makes collecting reports and getting the data back out to analyze and share simple! Here are a few ways e-CImpact can help you:
• Automate your reporting open and closing dates, email reminders, and submission notifications.
• Pre-populate data from the partner’s application.
• Provide feedback to partners in the system.
• Use powerful report templates to aggregate performance data and share impact.
• SO much more!
Answer these questions and you are on your way to reporting processes that provide a crucial accountability interface with your grantees throughout the year and a critical status bar in assessing the progress your organization is making toward the goals of your strategic plan.
Are you ready to ramp up your reporting processes? Learn how having e-CImpact in your community investment toolbox can help your organization efficiently and effectively accelerate your journey to creating effective evaluation processes by reaching out to the Seabrooks team at firstname.lastname@example.org.