The Power of Reporting

The Power of Reporting

The headline read “89 Breweries, 768 Beers, 146 Portable Toilets: The 2014 Winter Beer Festival by the Numbers” (Feb 22,

It caught my attention.  Not that I had planned to attend but because of the numbers.  There was specificity of what was going to be at this event. Digging into the article, more details were given:

  • 5: Number of hours festival-goers have to enjoy the offerings this year.
  • 28: High temperature forecast in degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday in Grand Rapids.
  • 7,500: Total estimated attendance at the 2014 festival, including ticket holders, festival staff, brewery staff, media and others.

Leave it up to us crazy Northerners to come up with Festival like this in the middle of winter, right?!

As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think of how powerful this kind of reporting could be in development departments. What if key stats, measurements and a simple one-line explanation behind each number was given?  What if there were clarity on the development activities people were making on a weekly or monthly basis?  At a glance, people could see the progress being made. I suspect that in some cases, this kind of simple reporting would bring healthy recognition of the hard work being done with donors.  On the flip side, in some cases, it may cause some whiplash to peers and leadership as it may reveal how much more work needs to be done to connect with donors.

What if your next weekly report read something like this:

  • 5: Number of hours needed to research and set up appointments this week.
  • 30: Number of calls needed to meet with at least 10 people this week to share the mission and vision of our organization.
  • 10: Number of personal appointments completed.
  • $9,500: Total amount in funds asked for and/or discussed to support our organization. [Modify these to scale for your organization]

Be honest.  Are you reporting with this kind of clarity? If yes, great.  If no, ask yourself why not.

Is it because you find yourself stuck in the office far more than you’d care to admit, and as a result you’re afraid to let others see the realities before you?  Perhaps the goals you’ve set for yourself are unrealistic and are either too low or too high to achieve, and you don’t want others to see this. Or is it possible that you actually haven’t listed your goals for the week/month and that in itself is an embarrassment? There are certainly many reasons that can be given. But the good news is you can turn this around quickly and within days find yourself on a new pathway of success.

Remember the best way to experience success in your work is to meet with people.  Engage with those who’ve supported you in the past, those who currently support you and those who may have an interest in the future.  In short, go to where the people are, set goals and get after it.

Not that I’m recommending your first stop be a crowd of 7,500 people walking around for five hours at a Winter Beer Festival, although that alone could result in some interesting conversations…and a development report that would need some careful explaining.

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