Writing Impact Statements that Make an Impact

Whether soliciting resources to address a challenge or reporting on successful milestones, impact statements matter.

Impact statements provide a quick summary of the challenge addressed, measures put in place to address it and what happened as a result. In other words, people want a detailed explanation of your efforts, without all the extra detail. Here, we share three tips on moving past statements that merely document outputs, to ones that show quantifiable results.

WHAT ISSUE WAS ADDRESSED AND WHY?

Give a brief summary of the problem addressed, and the measures taken to identify the issue. However; be mindful not to get too caught up in method and theory. Identify your audience, so that you are using language (i.e. buzzwords) familiar to them. Mention any established partnerships, and give credit to those involved in the process. This can include community-based organizations or educational institutions. Other important information to include would be the amount of funding, or other resources given to help address the issue. 

WHAT KIND OF IMPACT WAS MADE?

An impact is a change in the level of knowledge, condition and/or behavior. For instance, your agency was awarded grant funding for the development of a community-based training program that will ultimately lead to increased employment opportunity for its participants. This is an increase in knowledge (job preparation) and condition (economic).

  • Change in Condition: social, economic, consumer impact;
  • Change in Behavior: increased exercise, change in eating habits;
  • Change in Knowledge: job preparation, skills development.

WHAT WAS PRODUCED AS A RESULT?

Share the major findings of the project. Using the aforementioned training program as an example, include the number of participants who enrolled in the program, as well as those who completed the training. One might also include how many participants attained employment as a result and what industry as well as starting salary information. In addition, share any anecdotal information to include statements from those who have benefited from your project (newly hired participants, employers and community partners). Lastly, share potential future impacts. Is there an expectation of increased employment? The creation of new industries? What might happen later should there be continued funding? Be sure to include visuals to further get the message across.

For additional information on writing impacts, see the following:

Five Things You Need to Know About Impacts– Enago Academy

Examples of Impact Statements – Fresh from the Field

Hope Marshall is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.

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Profile Photo Blake Martin

This is an especially helpful resource, as I think we’ve all had to describe the impact of our work in many capacities to managers and other higher-ups. As you noted, I’ve found that anecdotal excerpts and quotes from those impacted can be empowering in proving impact and value.

Profile Photo Hope Marshall

Thank you for your feedback, Blake! I’m glad to hear you found it helpful. Here at our agency, we do annual accomplishment reports. And even then, we have to demonstrate impact. For example, if I taught classes, how many classes were taught? How many people attended? Knowing that I have to demonstrate this, it makes me keep better notes throughout the year.