Nonprofits Need to Demonstrate Impact in Real Time

When tragedy strikes at home or abroad, most people are quick to offer help. To feel like they really make a difference and help a difficult situation, donors often take steps to ensure the money they give will go directly to benefiting victims or finding solutions. The organization that offers the most direct route to social impact will attract the most help - especially when the worst happens overnight.

When a tragic event occurred at a Florida nightclub, people around the country did not hesitate to donate blood, food and money. Business Insider detailed how the $7.5 million fund collected in the wake of the event will go directly to victim's families, instead of to related nonprofits as was originally intended. This change came about as survivors of previous tragedies petitioned for a more direct impact.

NPR recently reported that modern donor audiences have some trust issues with nonprofit organizations. Many millennials prefer to give money to causes with simple, measurable goals and projects they can watch unfold in real time. If nonprofits want to become a viable option for charitable involvement, they need to communicate their plans and demonstrate success.

Effective measurements
It's impossible to communicate success to audiences if nonprofits aren't aware when they meet their goals. The Demonstrating Value organization shared the results of a New Philanthropy Capital survey that found only 75% of nonprofits take steps to measure the impact of their work. This means a quarter of organizations don't recognize the difference they make and can't communicate it to potential donors.

Nonprofits that want to create measurable goals need to have systems in place to monitor and quantify actions. Payment processing systems should integrate with donation software and CRM solutions so funds become visible data in projects. A unified system can show where every dollar goes, where more capital is needed and which projects were completed with what funds.

Real-time marketing
Having systems in place that can keep up with rapid data exchanges is important when preparing for major events. If tragedy strikes, nonprofits want to ensure there are simple online donation forms available and channels ready to communicate need and effects.

Social media and other modern platforms prioritize speed. These can be effective channels when announcing exactly what a nonprofit plans to do in light of a tragedy, showing images of who needs help and displaying representations of impact. As soon as a fundraising goal is met, victims receive aid or infrastructure is rebuilt, a nonprofit communication channel should share the impact with the public. 

Engaging and simple content
Storytelling has long been heralded as one of the best ways to demonstrate the value of an organization and create empathy with audiences.  "Before" and "after" is one of the simplest narratives nonprofit content can tell. 

The Social Impact Communicator said infographics are one of the best ways to show what progress has been made and what still needs to be done. By starting a chart at the moment of tragedy and demonstrating progress through growing data - like funds collected or people helped - an organization can show ongoing success while indicating there is still plenty of need for additional help.

Continuous thank yous
During any tragic event, a nonprofit should be there to help, not steal focus. So instead of indicating success through internal praise, it's often a good idea to demonstrate impact through gratitude. For every goal that's hit, content should thank donors and show them exactly what their help accomplished.

This not only justifies their decision to use your platform for involvement, but also gives them an opportunity to share information with friends and family who also want to help. When donations reach victims or build needed programs or infrastructure, images should be presented as thank yous for making a real difference. 

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