Community Impact Statements: What Are They & How to Write One
Impact is the quantifiable difference your work makes in a neighborhood. It extends beyond program success. Real impact comes from the willingness to approach holistically and adapt for the sake of positive change.
At its best, impact shows up in renewed, more equitable systems. Lasting comes from a changed environment and a changed context. Grasping this is essential for holistic neighborhood development.
Impact is impossible without relationship. An important characteristic of high-impact work is clear collaboration with neighbors. Stay in communication, especially about your original goals. Often, programs communicate these goals via impact statements.
What is a Community Impact Statement
A Community Impact Statement is a summary of your goals and changes needed in your community. These statements establish the financial, social, and environmental repercussions of your community’s efforts.
Community Impact Statements act as a bridge between a program and the community it serves. They can be a powerful tool for cultivating trust. These statements ensure that leaders meet this impact with intent through their programs.
Think of Community Impact Statements as adopted positions a program may take. They guide the kind of work that will be done. These statements are reflective of a program’s current position. They must maintain the voice of the community, but can also be flexible to change over time. They are a guide to adhere to for positive long-lasting impact as an organized collective.
How Community Impact Statements Improve Your Work
Community Impact statements can improve your work by giving you insight. They hold you and your program accountable while building a partnership with your community. These statements create opportunities for funding, outreach, credibility, and connectedness.
In creating a statement, most processes allow communities an opportunity to offer their suggestions, oppositions, and support. They foster space for continuous improvement and communication.
A good impact statement can also point out places for partners to plug in. By clarifying the impact you want to have together, the gifts and skills to get there will be more apparent. That means you can look for individuals and organizations with those skills! In this way, Impact Statements can help you get on the same page with the right people. Even better, returning to them can keep you aligned over time.
How to Find or Write a Community Impact Statement
Most Community Impact Statements start by identifying a core issue. Then, they will detail a plan to address it and identify how to measure that impact. Most will include space to observe progress along the way!
Part of writing an impact statement is receiving a green-light from the community before starting any programs. Secondly, part of writing a Community Impact Statement is clarifying risks and benefits of each program. Caution and optimism are a balancing act.
As you write a statement, express clearly how you plan to address systemic issues and quantify results. This may have social, financial, environmental, and well-being components. Most importantly, state the why, what, and who.
Be sure to involve all parties that may be impacted by your program! In the spirit of adaptive change, remember that communities are dynamic — stakeholders may change. Be adaptable, fluid, concise, and willing to listen to the valuable voices around you.
To find out more about how to write a statement, click here.
Creating a community impact statement can be intimidating. They exist as a tool to continually and effectively listen to your community! It can be a process of adaptation but thankfully we have the resources to make this process easier.
To learn more about these resources and the process of creating a community impact statement, connect with the Lupton Center!