The most important thing to remember when communicating with executives is to keep it brief and relevant. Even those executives who are very supportive of corporate citizenship have little bandwidth to delve into the details of company programs, but they still want to be informed.
Center members have recently been trading advice and examples of quarterly corporate citizenship briefs that capture the attention of their time-strapped bosses. The virtual discussion, begun by a post in the Center’s online Member Community, has stirred a flurry of interest showing just how eager corporate citizenship professionals are to effectively inform their senior leaders.
In order to meet this challenge, some members report that they prepare a quarterly dashboard of key community engagement activities for the executive team. “Unfortunately, people often start and stop at reporting outputs or short-term ‘outcomes’ such as the number of dollars, numbers of grants, numbers of ‘activities’ we participated in or supported, etc.,” warns Susan Santos, instructor for the Center’s Evaluating and Measuring Community Involvement course. “In my experience, leadership is more interested in the value provided, or what we refer to as ‘longer term outcomes’ or ‘impacts’ in measurement parlance.” Santos recommends any results reported should be tied to their associated business and social impacts, such as maintaining or improving reputation or ensuring/supporting operations through community relations efforts.
It is certainly a challenge to send this message in a concise fashion. Some talented communicators have crafted a one-page document or a slide of bulleted highlights and graphical representation of metrics and goals. I invite you to pay a visit to our online Member Community to see the examples and join in the conversation.