Going Beyond Numbers To Tell Powerful Impact Stories

Identify your reason for telling this story.

Are you seeking to bring new insight to a topic that is not often discussed? Or educate your audience further on a concept you’ve discussed in the past? Or are you hoping to elevate your achievements as an organization or team? While developing your story, be self-reflective about your intentions.

Seek to achieve transparency throughout the process.

What is the methodology the organization used for data collection and interpretation? How did teams seek to identify and combat bias within the insights approach? Were there things learned along the way that were unexpected? Sharing this insight with your audience can help to reinforce organizational values and strengthen trust.

Be empathetic in your delivery of sensitive information.

Empathy is critical when interpreting data sets related to sensitive topics. Remember to put things in perspective and develop narrative and social media content that is strengths-based and makes space for nuance. Insights often reflect real-world lived experiences and should be treated with the utmost care.

Tell your audience about any data limitations.

Where are there clear gaps in information? Was data collection through digital methods, like online surveys difficult? Could the approach have benefitted from something like direct mail or phone calls to increase the sample size? Being open about these limitations can help your audience better understand how to contextualize the findings.

Use data visualization to help bring your story to life.

The more you can create secondary opportunities for your audience to experience the data through a visual journey, the greater your chance to keep them invested in your impact story. Don’t worry about things needing to be heavily designed, but try to incorporate at least 1–2 visuals per story to enhance written content.

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Jennifer Ingham

Jennifer Ingham

founder/owner @wordsparkdigi social impact digital consulting, freelance writer, love all things arts + culture + community, tea connoisseur