There’s no such thing as over-communicating your not-for-profit’s impact

Trust is the #1 motivation for Australians supporting a charity.

But trust is not something that is earned overnight. It’s earned over the long-term and takes time, effort and consistency. 

So when fundraising effectiveness and trust are so closely linked, how do not-for-profits build and then maintain high-levels of trust with donors?

The power of social impact reporting

Social impact reporting is one extremely effective tactic for building trust. Impact reporting is a long term, repeated mechanism that builds trust with the sector and with donors. 

McCrindle's latest NFP Insights Report measures the link between social impact reporting and building trust.

Younger Australians are driving the rise of social impact reporting, with 93% of Gen Ys (93%) more likely to engage with an organisation that clearly communicates its social impact, compared to 80% of Baby Boomers.

But when we talk about social impact reporting, we’re not talking about the 25-page annual report you’re about to send out to your donors. 

Instead we’re talking about regular, bite-sized donor communications that build trust and share your not-for-profit’s impact on the communities around them all year around. 

So, how do you make sure your not-for-profit is doing social impact reporting right? We’ve got three hot tips for you below… 

  1. Report on what matters most to your donors

Start by taking time to understand your donors. Who they are, what drew them to your organisation and cause, and what demographic they fit into?

McCrindle gives a breakdown of what matters most per age group…

For example, Gen X and Z donors want to hear about environmental impact, while Baby Boomers are more concerned with financial reporting (McCrindle 2022). 

But ultimately your donors want to see that you’re doing what you say you’re doing. A big lesson came from the 2019 Bushfires when trust in not-for-profits took a battering by the media because not-for-profits didn’t communicate in real-time how they were spending donor dollars and the impact it was making. 

  1. Choose the channels where your audience are

Move away from a once-a-year printed annual report, and towards regular, bite-sized updates on the channels your donors are most active on.

Digital is key. In Australia, email is the #1 channel for giving, with social media as #2 (Global Trends in Giving, 2020). Since COVID, giving trends have skewed digital, with online donations becoming the top way of giving (McCrindle, 2021).

Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z find social media and websites are the most engaging platforms for social impact reporting.

That means that social impact updates need to occur on email, social media, your website etc. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where does your social impact reporting sit right now?  

  • Is it still in your annual report, is it coming out via direct mail? 

  • How long has it been since your team reviewed this process? 

  • Where are you investing offline that could be transitioned online?

  1. Deliver bite-sized updates all year round. 

2 in 5 Australians want to hear from charities monthly to learn about their impact and be updated on the progress of their programs. 

But 50% of Australians want to spend less than 5 minutes engaging with an organsiation’s content to understand their impact. 

This means, Australians want more frequent impact updates but they want it in quick, easy, digestible and engaging formats.

McCrindle’s research found that the most engaging forms of impact reporting are:

  1. Short video summaries

  2. Infographics

  3. Interactive web reports

Moral of the story: Make sure your best stuff isn’t hiding in a 20-page report! Instead, move your annual report from being an administrative function to a central content collation exercise for the upcoming year, and share snippets over the full 12-months, not just all at once.

Make social impact reporting a regular touchpoint in your donor journey, and ensure one of your always-on content pillars across all channels is focused on reporting on your impact. 


Ultimately social impact reporting has a ripple effect. Not only is it great for building immediate trust and connection with donors, but it can help build your brand and profile for the long-term.

That’s why social impact reporting has to be an always-on factor in your digital channels that helps supplement your fundraising.

You might feel like you’re over-communicating - but trust us, that’s a good sign.

If you want to learn more about how to integrate social impact reporting into your donor journey, reach out to us.