what if you could show the impact?

If you want to know what the future of nonprofit marketing/fundraising looks like, take a look at the “See Your Impact” website. I’m not endorsing See Your Impact and I only know what I’ve read about them on their website and some basic research.

I am certain that “See Your Impact” is on the right track with their radical, practically instant version of reporting. I believe that many (most?) nonprofits and charities will have to do their version of this in the future or fail.

What makes this so strong?

First, the name is great. “See Your Impact.” While I don’t know exactly what they do from their name, I know something unique and critically important about them. I suspect that I even know a core value of their organization from their name alone.

Second, transparency is the killer app. If everything is as promised (and we know there can be gaps between perception and reality, i.e. Kiva’s past difficulties) then See Your Impact is showing the donor what they’re doing. Wow. I can see my impact. That’s a radical shift in transparency.

Third, my $=X equation is astoundingly clear. Donors want to know what happens when they make a donation. The very best organizations keep donors focused on what the donor’s gift is doing, not what the organization is doing. It’s what the donor wants done, not what you want done (if you read our blog, you’ve heard this from me over and over).

I’m not promoting See Your Impact. But I am totally persuaded that organizations who are showing, telling, demonstrating to their donors how they are changing the world will grow. This will be hard work. It is time consuming and not glamorous. It’s easier not to do it. It will make you crazy trying to figure out how your donors can see more of the difference they’re making in the world. But if you can do your version of this, showing your donors the good they’re doing in the world with their giving will change everything.

So what do you think about such radical transparency? What do you think is the hardest part of this kind of reporting to donors? What have you come up with to demonstrate to your donors the results from their giving?

I love hearing what you’re thinking.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: krupp)

Picture of Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

5 thoughts on “what if you could show the impact?”

  1. Knowing no more about See Your Impact than what you’ve shared here Steve, I think one take away is the use of the 2nd word in the org’s name, “Your”. The more i use this word, as well as, “you”, the more i’m using my brain to connect the reader to work we do only as a result of God’s grace working through their prayer and financial help.

  2. @Tim — I love how you isolated how important the pronouns are. I was startled by how See Your Impact used “your” in “their” name. Bold move and not something everyone would have the courage to do. It also adds an interesting “top-spin” to the organizational dynamic when the donor is so specifically important.
    Great stuff, Tim. Thanks for the observations.

  3. Tim, thanks for taking a look at what we’re doing and for encouraging your audience to connect their donors with their impact. I agree with your points on the power of showing people how they’re changing the world.

    “Radical transparency” is our aim.

    Steve, thanks for sharing the thoughtful comment about the “your”.

    ~ Shari
    SeeYourImpact.org Staff

  4. Shouldn’t this be part of a bigger aim?

    Yes, you can show what your £20 has done…but shouldn’t you put in to comparison to the overall problem within that country/region?

    Also, I disagree with the fundamental arguement that people just want to see what the money they donated has done. This is tabloid level impact. Many, if not most, and especially before donating, would want to see what the overall impact of a charity is to ensure they are supporting a cause that will have a long term impact.

    It also, sadly, encourages short-term giving, which whilst has its place, surely more long-term approaches should be the focus.

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