Creating an Annual Impact Report
Creating Your Annual Impact Report
With an ever increasing focus on corporate transparency, community impact, and environmental action, it’s becoming increasingly important for all companies to set goals and share progress. This can be done with blog posts throughout the year, but more and more small and medium sized businesses are also releasing an annual impact report.
First of all, don’t be scared. If you’re following the steps we shared in our previous blog about tracking impact metrics, your impact report should be a simple process. So let’s discuss what to include, how to report it, and the importance of keeping it simple.
And it’s not too late to release your 2022 report. Your stakeholders will be focused more on the substance than your April release date.
What to Include
We recommend starting with a blank document (in future years, you can use the previous doc as a template). We’ll fill out the sections we include in the table of contents:
- Table of Contents
- Letter from the CEO
- Include summary of report, which should restate previous year’s goals and outcomes.
- Upcoming year’s preview, including quantifiable goals.
- Community Impact
- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
- Environmental Footprint
- Partnerships, Pledges, etc
- Current Year Goals
As a refresher, for a full list of impact metrics, check out our previous blog.
When To Release It:
Most companies release their annual impact reports between mid February and early March. It takes time to close out the books (even the impact books), calculate your carbon footprint (we recommend finding a partner that can do that for you, like We Are Neutral), and put the report together.
But it’s not too late to put yours together and release it later this month (and maybe earlier next year). Simply follow the outline above and follow the advice in the next section below.
Keep It Simple:
Don’t overthink it. Page 4 of our Impact Report spotlights our volunteerism. One sentence, the impact metric spotlighted to the right, and our three main volunteer causes. Keep it simple.
If you’re a privately held company, there aren’t investors or reporters reading every word in your report. So keep it simple. Use graphs and uncluttered data points (percentages, hours, etc) to make it easy to digest and quick to read. Give your readers a succinct view into what’s important (and the reason you created this): to share your goals (i.e., your commitment) and your progress (i.e., how committed you are to your goals).
A great impact report can be created using a tool like Canva and doesn’t need to be more than 7-10 slides. Keep the copy to a minimum (except for the letter from the CEO) and keep it honest (your employees will read it).
If you really aren’t keen to play around with Canva, three B Corp leaders (and legends), Alisa Herr, Polina Pinchevsky, and Russ Stoddard, came together to found Unit of Impact. Designed for small and medium sized businesses, Unit of Impact will generate your Annual Impact Report for you. It can also help you track your impact metrics year over year.
If you need inspiration to keep it simple, or simply want to borrow our template, please don’t hesitate to reach out.