Getting the Most out of Reporting
When preparing your CEPN board meeting reports or network updates for your funders, it’s tempting to write reports which only showcase the positive aspects of your network, slightly bending the truth to assure everyone that the network is operating just fine.
Although this approach is perfectly understandable, I often see missed opportunities to identify and address areas for improvement.
Acknowledging that improvements need to be made, does not have to be viewed as a negative, on the contrary, it can demonstrate:
That the leadership team are committed to making their network the best it can be
The desire to understand and evaluate why a plan may not have been successful, drawing on the lessons learnt
Any skills or areas of expertise missing from the network
The need for change
Your reports provide the opportunity for a health check of your network and for you to address the challenges you are facing with proposed solutions to overcome these.
“Our course booking procedure is still causing some confusion resulting in complaints. We also have noticed our delegate numbers falling compared to last year”.
4 members of the Board have formed a subcommittee to address this issue and are tasked with:
Reviewing, updating and communicating the course booking procedure
Introducing an online event management tool to support our booking process so delegates receive a prompt response.
Courses, where possible, will be advertised in a programme 4 times a year instead of individually, improving communication and reducing the number of emails.
Along with identifying areas for improvement, this is also the opportunity to carefully consider why a success was a success. Did you dedicate resource to a particular project, did you see an improvement as a result of some training, have you acted on some feedback or updated a policy?
A strength of our team this year has been the ability to bid for external funds. This year we have prioritised business development and have a member of the team dedicated to networking and developing strategic partnerships. We have also invested in paid for memberships with some grant finder websites and have been successful in 2 out of the 3 bids we have submitted.
Also, due to regular meetings with our Stakeholders we are clear on how we can support their objectives.
Rather than the reporting process be a chore, seeking improvements and identifying the keys to your successes will enhance the sustainability of your Network, continually delivering added value to your Stakeholders and Members.