Talk less, do more. Yes, it’s true. However, in today’s dynamic business landscape, where organizations are constantly striving to engage with their stakeholders in a meaningful and impactful way, we need to also talk (re: communicate) more about our impact initiatives.
It is crucial for organizations to not only develop impactful initiatives but also effectively communicate them to the targeted audience. Effective communication enables us to clearly articulate the purpose, goals, and outcomes of our initiatives. By doing so, we could expand the reach and influence of our initiatives, foster greater awareness, engagement, and support from our target audience, and most of all, create a larger impact.
In general, there are some key elements to keep in mind, based on what I’ve learned and experienced, to ensure that communication is relevant and resonates with stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, government entities, media, and the general public, especially when it comes to impact initiatives.
• Accountability and Transparency
We must be clear and open about the goals, progress, and even challenges during the implementation. When every stakeholder is informed, the organization earns trust and credibility. An impact report is a reliable tool to demonstrate that because it not only elaborates on the impacts that have occurred and supports those claims with figures and data, but it also illustrates the indicators and how they’re being measured. We can also communicate updates on impact initiatives through articles published on our organization’s website, newsletter, or press releases. Speaking engagements and media interviews are also other ways to disseminate information about the impact.
The data and statistics are crucial to showing the growth. But numbers cannot stand alone to describe the impact created. We need storytelling to hook the audience’s attention and create a sense of connection, making messages more relatable and trust-building. It is also important to include messages regarding the program beneficiaries in our communication. Let the story come from different perspectives, and put the highlights not merely on the organization but mostly on those who are beneficiaries of the impact initiatives. Telling the story from the perspective of the beneficiaries will provide a more human-interest touch. Remember to keep the stories true and not make them up. Also, we need to identify which audience we want to engage. Be sure to customize the message according to the targeted audience. For example, the communication approach for young aspiring social entrepreneurs to join an incubator program would differ from that of established social entrepreneurs to join an accelerator program.
It is fundamental to establish guidelines to ensure a clear and consistent communication strategy from the start. Everything from the messaging house to the design and media collaterals must be in sync. Additionally, consistency also needs to occur at all stages of the program, from pre, during, and post program. The message conveyed must be in harmony from beginning to end. For example, when communicating about an acceleration program for social entrepreneurs, while also informing what the targeted sectors, demographics, and how the program is going to support the social enterprises in terms of scaling up their business and impact even after the program is done, and how the program itself impacted the social enterprises. We need to make sure that in every communication activity carried out, the missions and key messages of the program must be reflected.
• Collaborations and Partnerships
Communicating about collaborations and partnerships with other organizations and stakeholders indicates an approach to impact initiatives that is constructive and collaborative. These collaborations provide credibility to the organization’s initiatives and demonstrate a shared commitment to creating positive impacts. We can also synergize with the community partners in the impact ecosystem to broaden the scope of our communication and reach more audiences. For example, having collaborative events or social media posts that support and highlight each other’s impact initiatives.
Astri Kharina Bangun
Senior Marketing Communications Lead at Instellar
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