Reporting back to stakeholders

What needs to be reported by community organisations, whether you are big or small.

Silver Fern Linda Vagana of Duffy Books writes ‘Three key steps to reporting success’.

Linda Vagana

 Linda  presents Duffy Books to children at Levin East School.

Three key steps to reporting success 

Community organisations can find it easy to rest on their laurels, secure in the knowledge that they are doing good work and that goodwill (and dollars) will continue to flow into their coffers.

While this may be the case in the good times, complacency is not an option when economic times become tougher.

We’ve learned that it’s not necessarily a major task to let partners and supporters know how well you’re doing and why their support is making a difference.

 1. Make it manageable…and real!

Duffy Books in Homes works with over 530 schools and almost 100,000 children throughout New Zealand.  We have around 200 sponsors who are associated with these schools so micro managing these relationships would be an enormous task.  Instead, we encourage schools to form direct relationships with their sponsors – relationships that are often far more meaningful than the newsletters that come from our office.  Giving sponsors the chance to visit schools and give out books to children gives businesses and other sponsors an instant (and tactile) sense of how their funds are being used.

2. Be there in body…not just in spirit

A significant portion of our funding comes from Government and part of this process is a comprehensive regular written report.  However, facts and figures in black and white can only go so far.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself we meet with our key stakeholders at the Ministry of Education – not only to let them know what we’re doing but to ask them what we can do better.

3. Celebrate success…and build on it

Interim results from a research project on the Duffy Books programme have shown that children participating are far less likely to experience the ‘summer slide’ – a phenomenon where reading ability declines during the long summer school break.  To be sure, this is a great concrete measurement of the success of the programme and will be well-publicised.  However, we also see it as a chance to build on an outcome.  The next step is to consult with our stakeholders to see how we might take this to the next level.  We don’t currently have the resources to give out several hundred thousand books prior to summer as we do before the other school holidays – how can our partners help us make this happen?

Linda Vagana is the General Manager of Duffy Books in Homes.  Following a highly successful netball career, with 61 tests for the Silver Ferns, and a stint at AUT University, Linda joined Duffy Books in 2004.

Since its inception in 1993 the charity has given away more than 8,000,000 books to children in low income homes and currently distributes more than 600,000 free books every year.