Engaging, impactful annual reviews and reports: a participant perspective

One of the great things about working for Superhighways is being part of a social enterprise that reaches across a wide range of boroughs in London, and helps such a diverse range of small charities take their digital skills to the next level. 

On Tuesday 20 September, I had my first hands-on experience of one of the range of courses that Superhighways offer at affordable rates. 

Voluntary and community organisations in Southwark, Richmond, Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Bromley, Lewisham, Lambeth and Wandsworth can benefit from City Bridge Trust subsidised training.  

I sat in as a participant in Tuesday 20th’s  course, “Engaging, impactful annual reviews and reports”, led by Sorrel. The course was fully booked, with 10 people attending from across the voluntary sector, working on issues such as homelessness, carer support, and youth unemployment.

Attendees ranged from junior to senior staff, those juggling several roles, communication officers and those overseeing a range of departments.  

The purpose of the course was to make charity workers reconsider how and why they do annual reviews and how to use digital to freshen up the process. Creating an annual review is a task undertaken by most charities, mainly required as a means of showcasing to funders, supporters and beneficiaries the impact the charity is having.  

Having worked previously in communications for a social enterprise in Belfast, with one of my tasks being collating the annual reviews for website upload in PDF form, the course made me radically reconsider the value of that. 

With annual reviews, there’s often a sense of doing things the way they have always been done, because you think you should or have to. 

Sorrel highlighted that the strongest kind of annual review should not exist of itself, but lead to action-be that retaining or increasing funding, or increasing referrals or volunteers.  

The day involved a mix of presentation, discussion, group work and individual tasks. Sorrel began by asking participants why they do annual reviews, if they need to, and if they need to create a print version, digital only or both. She highlighted that charities need to make a shift from a narrative of activities to drawing attention to the changes their work has achieved. Placing human stories at the core helps people connect emotionally to the cause more than stats or numbers. 

However, the value of showcasing impactful numbers in an attractive manner was focused upon, with guidance on using a free infographic creator.  

We also made a short video via another free platform, Stupeflix. Our group work involved looking at a range of print and online annual reviews and thinking about what we think is done well and less so.  

We used an excellent venue, the Mercy Foundation Centre in Battersea. Thank you for your support on the day. 

The course made me realise that there is a lot cash-strapped charities can achieve on no budget and little time. I look forward to taking part in more of our courses across the London boroughs.  

 

By Kylie Noble

Superhighways Digital Marketing Intern and course participant

 

If you'd like to better demonstrate your impact take a look at Superhighways training courses for staff and volunteers at www.trainingatsuperhighways.eventbrite.co.uk