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Benefit Reports; Drudgery or Mighty Tool?

It’s that time for many companies, to wrap up and publish the finished year Benefit Reports! Some have told me they find it akin to doing taxes. Some love it as an opportunity. Let’s put some spin on those points, and look at the why and the how. When is the best time to start your 2024 Benefit / Impact report? Now is the time to create a foundation. Start early even it not reporting in a calendar year! Help is here.

Why write annual Benefit Reports?

Top Obstacles to Publishing Impact Reports and Benefit Reports: 
Finding time for planning, finding time for data analysis, finding time in an already full workload, time equals money.

Writing an impact report as a social enterprise company is important for several reasons:

Why Should I Publish an Impact Report or Benefit Reports?
Because you have to if you are a Benefit Corporation, Because you want to in your own self interest, because others need you to for advocacy and inspiration.

  • Accountability – An impact report helps the company be accountable for its social and environmental goals. Nielsen study show two thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services when they know a company has good values. An impact report is one of the proof points. Help them find your company!
  • Transparency: By sharing detailed information about the company’s social and environmental performance, a social enterprise can build trust and credibility. Transparency is key in demonstrating that the company is committed to its values and is open about its successes and challenges.
  • Communication: Showcase the company’s achievements and contributions to social and environmental causes. It helps convey the company’s purpose and the positive change it is making in the community.
  • Learning and Improvement: The process of compiling an impact report encourages reflection on the company’s practices and outcomes. It provides an opportunity to identify areas for improvement and refine strategies to enhance the overall impact. Year over year compilation can be part of the report.
  • Marketing and Branding: An impact report can be a powerful marketing tool. Highlighting the positive social and environmental impact of the company can attract socially conscious consumers and investors who align with the company’s values.
  • Compliance: In some cases, there may be legal or regulatory requirements for social enterprises to report on their impact. Complying with such requirements is essential to avoid legal issues and maintain good standing.
  • Investor and Donor Relations: For companies seeking investment or donations, an impact report can be a valuable tool in attracting socially responsible investors or donors. It provides evidence of the company’s commitment to making a positive difference.
  • Internal Motivation: Impact (aka benefit) reports can be a great onboarding asset and a way to buoy employee enthusiasm and productivity year over year as a point of pride and of honesty.

What to write in a Benefit Report?

Think in terms of B Lab Standards, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the best ways to reach your audiences, sharing letters, testimonials in an authentic voice.

  • Founder Letter
  • Mission, vision, values
  • Accomplishments, challenges, goals
  • Governance
  • Community
  • Customer Driven
  • Environment
  • Employees
  • Conscientious Leadership
  • Inclusion and Equity
  • Strategic Business Practices
    • and from new draft standards B Lab
  • Government Affairs and Collective ACtion
  • Complementary Impact Topics
  • Anything you feel is relevant to your work and impacts

What to write in your benefit reports? 

Impact Quadrant: Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes. 

 A venn diagram shows the intersecting of product/service, locally, globally, and philanthropy (time and/or money).

It’s becoming increasingly important for due diligence in assessing, measuring and improving impacts in terms of: inputs, outputs and outcomes with an equity centered lens. Using Human Centered Design and deep listening to assess impacts and is anyone harmed, is anyone helped, is anyone left out.

Environmental impacts can be challenging to measure, particularly for small companies and service providers. We’ll help you reach out to experts, also consider Project Drawdown Table of Solutions Greenly.org Carbon assessment

How to write Benefit Reports?

Different sector companies have various ways to measure, it all depends, the key is: start early, pace and update the measuring often. Project management tools can be helpful, excel can be enough. Some companies will be certified as Climate Neutral, 1% for the Planet and others.

Because there has been little uniformity in Benefit/Impact reporting, the amazing B Corp founders: Polina Pinchevsky Russ Stoddard and Alisa Herr gathered together as volunteers to create the first online recording and reporting platform Unit of Impact as another way to track, measure and report! This is an indication that reporting matters, people are paying attention and it’s a great way to share with customers, community, clients, everyone! Here’s an Impact Report Planner for Small business from Unit of Impact
Unit of Impact offers several features to make your job easier and your impact more compelling. The platform helps you: consolidate data, gain insights, track progress, and create impact reports - also known as benefit reports.

Mighty Epiphyte Consulting participated in the beta testing of Unit of Impact during the first year.

An example of what the Unit of Impact Benefit Reports software looks like. On the left a screen shows various charts in a back-end view, and on the right, a finished report is displayed.

Need help? We’re your help! In any format, for all things impacts from the nurturing thought process, to what and where to measure, improve, report and share! Reporting helps people find you! We help make that happen through deep listening, planning and strategy, tracking templates and the deep empathy of knowing your business. all the while acknowledging that time, focus and your needs are precious.

Mighty Epiphyte Advocate@mightyepiphyte.com

Mighty Epiphyte Consulting is a supportive partner and affiliate of Unit of Impact, we’re happy to share this 10% discount with you:

25% Discount Coupon code for you: ME25

And reminders from Russ Stoddard:

  • Don’t let it sit on a shelf!
  • Publish to web where people can find it
  • Identify Stakeholders: Workers, Customers, Community, Investors
  • Owned media
  • Earned media

Your Benefit Report is Rich – So Mine It

  • An amazing all-year-round asset that can be shared in many ways
  • Slice and dice it into consumable graphic content
  • Fill up your content calendar: testimonials, metrics, etc.
  • New employee recruitment and onboarding
  • Email signature

Start now for 2024, pace yourself, help is here, and enjoy!

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