Communicating Results

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Now that capacity builders have the data in hand it is now time to focus on communicating the results. The process of communicating results focuses on marshalling support from various external stakeholders, and generating enthusiasm about the results of the program. If the capacity builder has dedicated marketers or fundraisers, they should be leading or a key advisor on the plans you make. When considering how to use the results externally, create a plan that incorporates: what to communicate, how to communicate it, and the target audience.

The following suggestions are great ways to communicate your findings.

You will determine what is the right mix of these six forms of communication:

  1. Issue a formal report. At the conclusion of the project, complete a full report of your evaluation efforts. Describe your desired outcomes and your logic model, the data collection plan, your results, and any recommendations or actions you have taken or plan to take as a result.
  2. Present case studies or stories of impact. These may be part of your formal report, but they can also be teased out and made available as marketing or teaching tools. Focus on a single organization and the results that organization achieved through your capacity building intervention.
  3. Develop press releases. Draft a press release highlighting the strongest results you have discovered and distribute to local newspapers, columnists, bloggers, community email lists, and neighborhood organizations.
  4. Create snapshots or postcards. Distill your key results to a short list, and turn that short list into a snappy display for print or online. Printed, laminated cards make great promotional materials and can be handed out at community meetings, mailed to constituents, and displayed on webpages.
  5. Incorporate visual aids. Whenever possible, reinforce the numerical results with pictures, graphs, or charts. You can also include photos.
  6. Produce a promotional video. Record interviews with organizational leaders discussing how the capacity building help they received improved their organization. Leaders of the capacity builder can discuss the program’s goals and results. The video can be loaded for free on youtube.com, or hosted on the organization’s web site.

Having put together great materials to communicate your results, it is important to put them to good use.

The following are tried-and-true methods of connecting external stakeholders to the materials that communicate the evaluation results.

  1. Enhance your web presence. Snapshots, case studies, stories, visual aids, and even your final report should be made available on your program’s website, Facebook page, or any other online communities you are part of, including a nonprofit management association or any associations of management-support organizations.
  2. Invite the media. Send the press releases to local media outlets and invite them to take a tour. Newspapers that cover the local events may be interested to report on the results you have achieved. Invite members of the media, including local bloggers or activists, to interview the leadership and take a tour of your facilities or programs.
  3. Give presentations. Invite stakeholders (board, partners, funders) for a meeting. Large organizations may be able to call a press conference. Go to your funders or stakeholders. If your organization is invited to give a speech or present information at any forum, be sure to include the key results in your introduction of your organization.  Note that these presentations can be more affordable and touch a wider geographic spread if done as a virtual presentation (webinar) using a product like GoToWebinar or Acrobat Connect.
  4. Identify a program champion. Identify a charismatic leader from an organization that has benefited greatly from your program and invite them to be a partner with you to help get the word out about the great results they have experienced in the program. This person or organization can participate in panels and forums, write letters on behalf of your organization, and participate in other outreach activities.  Remember to recognize this person for his/her efforts in ways that will be meaningful to him/her.

It will be important to include many audiences when discussing the results of your outcome measurement.

Some possible audiences you may want to include are:

  1. Funders, potential and current. This is most likely the first audience that capacity builders will think to target, and rightly so; communicating the effectiveness of your services is key to sustainability.
  2. Partners. Include all the organizations and individuals who contribute to your program’s operations.
  3. Your client organizations. Throughout the process, we have encouraged capacity builders to work closely with the organizations that are part of the capacity building engagement. This should not stop when it comes to the distribution of results. In addition to any results for that particular organization, provide the overall results of the program to give the organization an idea of how they compare to others in their cohort.  This builds goodwill that organizations have towards your organization, and builds your reputation across the nonprofit sector.  This can help create “buzz” that is sure to get back to funders and also create more demand for your services.
  4. Organizations you did not serve. Seeing the results of another organization can be a powerful marketing pitch and can generate more interest in your programs.  You may consider, for this target audience, engaging individuals from organizations you once served to help deliver the message to the organizations that you have not yet served via community panels, webinars, etc.
  5. Community leaders. Think about who benefits from the success of your capacity building program. Stronger nonprofits mean better results for the individuals being served by those organizations. Therefore, include local politicians (mayors, county executives, congressmen and women, state legislators) and institutions that benefit from the stronger organizations, such as school systems or corrections officials.
  6. Management and staff inside your organization.  The subsequent phase of the Measuring Outcomes attends in greater details on how to take the results and use them to examine internal performance and processes.
Click to open interactivity Use the web-based marketing tool, Constant Contact, to communicate your results to your target audience.

Use the web-based marketing tool, Constant Contact, to communicate your results to your target audience.

Visit www.constantcontact.com and begin your email marketing campaign.

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