Communicating Research Impactfully

01. Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to help you gain skills for communicating research effectively to your key stakeholders including fundraising and professional staff, executive management, and trustees. We hope you will gain:

  • An improved ability to communicate with diverse audiences about research and its relevance to the donor development process and fundraising strategies.
  • Increased understanding of the value and impact of research and its contribution toward meeting fundraising priorities and organisational goals.
  • Skills for preparing and presenting tailored research in context and proactively sharing research findings.

What do we mean by communicating research impactfully?

Not only can you present information in the most impactful way, but you can also demonstrate the impact of your research using carefully chosen information. It will also cover research for different audiences and stakeholders, as well as the opportunities available to present that research in a way that is impactful.

What is the importance of communicating research impactfully? 

We will cover communicating productivity outputs as a way of demonstrating the value of the research you do. Presenting your information in an impactful way will also mean people understand it better and that it is in the best possible format to be used.

Why do we tailor research for different audiences?

Different audiences will have very differing needs, not only for the kind of research they require but for the information you use to populate your research. As well as advice on the kind of information you share, this chapter also contains information on presentation styles so that you can best respond to the people to whom you are presenting.

Communicating research is more than completing a research template: There is a section on ‘knowing your stuff’, as understanding and being knowledgeable about the broader picture of society as a whole and your organisation’s place within it, will enable you to see how research fits within the overall fundraising process and how that fits within your organisational priorities. This will really help make your research relevant and efficient.

Dialogue is best as feedback but is often hard to obtain:

Discussion promotes a collaborative/team-based approach with research as an integral part of and potential strategic partner in the fundraising cycle. Whilst you know that research is a vital part of the fundraising cycle it might not be obvious to others. There is much you can do to build relationships internally and externally to be better placed to keep improving and optimising the research you generate.

How far should research go when being presented: providing information for decision making or presenting a finite answer?

Different organisations ask for different types of research, some organisations might not be requesting answers from their researchers but instead ask for the raw data so that other team members can make decisions.

However, prospect researchers often have expertise that can inform these kinds of decisions so there is a fine balance between providing information and recommending a strategic direction to move to the next step.

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