One25 Interview: Effective Impact Reporting

For the second part of our series on impact reporting we interviewed Josie Forsyth, communications director at One25, an amazing Bristol charity, on how they compiled their really effective impact report (which you can read HERE).  You can also click here for email updates with all our latest blogs.

Could you give us a brief summary of what One25 do? 
One25 is a Bristol charity that supports women to break free from street sex work.

Which different kinds of people did you have to pull together in order to make your impact report?
We’ve worked for a few years with a designer called Nic Jones.  So first of all I made sure she was free for the project and that she could work to our timetable.  The next step was to meet with Gill, our chief executive, to discuss our communications plan for the next quarter and our key messages that we wanted to give out. 
I ran an evaluation in the Spring and took some feedback from that, asking our supporters what they wanted to hear about in the report.  They spoke about wanting to hear lots of different voices because obviously we have lots of different stakeholders. I knew I wanted a story from someone we’d helped, as well as a volunteer’s story from our night outreach van.

I noticed that you don’t use too many words in the report, but there are plenty of graphics and pictures.  Is this something you did purposely?
Yes, I've had to learn over the years that people will read more if you write less because many people are very visual. I really needed to make sure that the writing had enough white space to look uncluttered.  We wanted lots of photos and to mix them up with info graphics and with little graphics such as the ‘night on the van’ diary entry page.  We were just trying to be quite playful with design to make it visually attractive.

Who was this impact report aimed at; trustees, potential donors, the general public?
When I wrote the design brief for this, the target audience was in there. Our number one audience is the general public. It needs to be something that strangers will want to pick up, maybe when we do a stall or a talk at an event, which is why we give such a broad brush approach to the way we do it. It also does go out to all our supporters that signed up to get our annual report and newsletters, so we want to show them how they've helped. 

What were the major challenges in putting this impact report together?
I guess one of the challenges that we have every year is that One25 is a charity that supports a very vulnerable group of women. Images are an issue because we don't show pictures of faces of people we’ve helped, but that’s usually something that charities will want to do in a report.  So I always have an issue about finding images that are emotional but still protect confidentiality.  This time we got around it by using more infographics though I was also directed to some excellent free online stock images. 

Why was making an impact report important for One25?
It’s twofold really. This is our flagship communication, the thing that goes out to tell everybody who has backed us exactly what their support has achieved in the last year, how many lives they've transformed. It encourages new people to get involved as well. The impact report is so important because with sex workers, people often need to understand the humanity behind the cause before they get involved, but when they do they become passionate about it. I want to achieve that a bit more.

Click here to find out more about the work of One25.  Why not try giving up something for 125 hours between the 8th to the 13th of November, to raise money for women who are either trapped in or vulnerable to street sex work in Bristol? All the details are here.