Thursday, May 23, 2013

Impact Reporting Doesn't Begin in September

Impact reporting doesn't begin in September, it starts when your programs are being planned.  It continues along every step of your program.  Since we are preparing for the final stages of this year's impact reporting... I wanted to share a few tips found on North Dakota State University Extension's site:
As you think about what was accomplished, ask yourself these questions:
What is different because of what was done or what happened as a result of the program delivered?
  • What did this program do for the community's economy?
  • What anecdotal evidence was collected?
  • What examples exist of the effects of the program?
  • What evidence could be or was collected to document collected impact?
Impact reporting provides a way to:
  • illustrate the significance of the land-grant effort
  • show accountability
  • demonstrate a return on investment
  • foster a better public understanding of the whole picture of research, teaching and extension
  • obtain future funding
  • increase awareness of all programs
An impact report is a brief summary, in ordinary language, of the economic, environmental or social results of our efforts. It states accomplishments and their payoff to clientele/society. An impact report answers the questions: So what? What difference did this program make?
Impact reporting is important to administrators because it:
  • illustrates accountability
  • improves visibility of programs (local, state, national)
  • generates support materials for legislative updates and county commissioners
  • is a repository of anecdotes for speeches, annual reports and letters of support
  • helps build greater understanding of our programs for the public
  • is easier to sell science and education programs when they can emphasize outcomes
Impact reporting is important to you as an extension educator because:
  • it makes sense to the public
  • It results in a brief and powerful report that you can use with many groups
  • you are contributing to a scientific base
  • your work is exposed to decision makers, partners, general public and potential funders
Who is your audience?
  • the general public
  • local governing bodies
  • state officials
  • federal officials
  • your peers
  • external funding sources
  • industry representatives
What makes a good impact report?
An impact report is a brief summary, in lay terms, of the social, environmental or economic outcomes of your efforts. It states accomplishments and payoff to clientele/society.
A good impact report illustrates change in at least one of the following areas:
  • Economic value or efficiency
  • Environmental quality
  • Social/individual well-being
No time like the present to start writing a great impact statement!

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