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Professional Writing, Quality Documentation, and Project Reporting Skills - Certificate Online Course | Start Date: 1st September, 2022 | Cost: USD 200 (Group discounts apply)
5 Ways to improve your donor reports

5 Ways to improve your donor reports

1. Clarity on the proposed changes

The project team and the project manager (PM) should strive to
have undisputed understanding of outputs, outcomes and impacts of the project being implemented.
Clear knowledge of the goal and milestones is a key criterion for accurate reporting. High quality
reports ought to detail how the changes are making a difference to the beneficiaries; hence the PM
should champion and report accurately on the project outcomes as spelled out in the main proposal.
Outcomes are the reason why a project is initiated; therefore, it is important as part of the proposal
promises to define the outcomes and how they will be measured. The project manager must at all
times report using the language of outcomes and by instilling this mind set to all implementing field
officers which will then have a huge positive impact to the perception of project delivery and the
service provided by the project

2.Effective data collection for reporting

It is paramount to have entrenched systems of data collection,
analysis and integration because the objective is to capture quality evidence which when well
analyzed, will bring forward convincing, and measurable progress being achieved. The concerned
team for reporting should decide on the tools for data collection such as a paper questionnaire or
computer-assisted interviewing system, Case Studies, Checklists, Interviews, Observations and
Surveys. Additionally, roles and responsibilities should also be agreed in relation to who will take the
duties in data collection, analysis, integration with predictable and prompt delivery timelines.

3. Adherence to demands from the donor and ensuring proper content

In projects where the donor
has provided the templates to be used while reporting it is obvious that the organization should
adhere to all the content therein. The purpose of donor reports is to demonstrate to our donors that
we have used their donations in alignment with expressed donor intent and hence scope and content
should be given serious consideration.

The reporting team should take time and plan all the content that will be reported according to the
changes being generated as a result of implementation of the project. At the very minimum, a donor
report should include expressions of appreciation for donor support and provide information about
how the support was used by the organization, and the impact that it has made to the target
beneficiaries. In some cases, beneficiaries can be allowed to express their gratitude in terms of stories
of change or human-interest stories. Similarly, it is quite important to incorporate infographics to
tell the story of how the particular support impacted the beneficiaries while also ensuring financial
data is clear, accurate and reflect institutional messaging, providing information that reflects and
adheres to audited financial data.

4. Internal collaborations & building a reporting culture for the organization

An organization has various departments with their different mandates and functionality; but at the end of the day, there
should be found a way in which all of them contribute positively to developing and sharing quality donor reports.

Gathering information for your reports can depend on the size and scope of your organization but is
worthwhile to carefully identify those colleagues or departments at your institution with whom you
will rely upon for providing the relevant information for your reports and communicate with them
early and often. It would be extremely advantageous to build a rapport with those team members as
your ability to provide quality reports will be dependent on their cooperation in the reporting
process.

The departments to consider will include, finance, communication, M&E, IT, program staff,
researchers and any professionals involved in the project. An organization reporting culture should
be one that has proper understanding of all the types of reports needed, their life cycle, timing,
critical content and necessary collaboration efforts. A good practice for champions in quality
reporting entails developing your annual reporting plan, effective communication and coordination
with your internal partners, being sure to share the agreed timelines with your colleagues early in the
year and then set reminders to check in as their “deadlines” are approaching.

These processes and procedures should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis with new skills
and additional competencies and innovations shared out quite often to keep the teams at a cutting
edge.

5. A proper call to action

This asks you the question, “Is our report going to be acted upon? Is it
sufficiently provoking? What is it you want your donors to know, feel? Check properly the channels
you are using in sharing your report: Which avenues of reporting shall we use? -Email report, Post
to website for download, Post to internal intranet folder for retrieval, print paper copy on site, print
paper copy and mail, Copied to portable media for delivery and/or Hand delivery by manager? A
good understanding of your audience is also vital in terms of their reporting needs. Donor report
audiences can vary widely depending on your specific goals and intended outcomes.

Reporting should serve a strategic purpose that educates, motivates or inspires your audience. Based
on the type of report you are generating and your end goal, your audience may vary from one to
many. It will also be important to consider your policies regarding data confidentiality and size of
files allowed to be delivered externally and internally via email, data security, privacy and
confidentiality.

Finally, be very mindful on the language you are using in passing your messages. A strong command
verb, words that provoke emotions or enthusiasm, give your audience a reason why they should take
desired project action.!

To Learn More, Enroll in the upcoming Professional Writing, Quality Documentation, and Project Reporting Skills – Certificate Online Course

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