Impact Reports – Response

Debra Davis, PhD

In my June 6 blog post, I introduced you to the 3 R’s model of writing impact reports and we focused on the first R-RELEVANCE. In this post, I will talk about the second R-RESPONSE.

Building on the first R-RELEVANCE, the second R-RESPONSE describes what you did to address the issues—the educational interventions that were conducted. This might include things like educational programs, series of classes, workshops, field days, camps, news articles, radio programs, newsletters, blog posts, Tweets, and Facebook postings. This is the section with which we typically have the least problem. We’re really good at listing the events and activities we conducted. The challenge is in clearly tying them to the RELEVANCE and to the RESULTS sections of the impact report.

In this section, you will:

  • List and/or describe the activities, events and other teaching methods you employed to address the issues
  • Tell when and where the activities were conducted
  • Identify your partners and collaborators, if there were any

You may choose to write this section in bulleted or narrative form. I’ll show you an example of each.

Example 1: Nutrition

A series of six 45-minute lessons from the Smart Bodies curriculum on fruits and vegetables, their health benefits and the importance of being physically active was presented to 780 5th grade students during their physical education & health classes in the spring of the 2010 school year. Simultaneously, the Take 10 program, encouraging increased physical activity was implemented. Fact sheets were sent home to parents on creative ways to prepare fruits and vegetables and the importance of including them in the diet. A Fitness Fair was conducted at each elementary school and it included a Taste & See Session. Families and community members were encouraged to attend. Local Master Gardeners then guided the establishment of school gardens to grow fruits and vegetables at each participating school. 

Example 2: Agriculture

Extension agents and specialists conducted a multi-faceted educational program targeting soybean producers in A, B & C Parishes. The program included:

  • A series of presentations at the tri-parish soybean field day held in B Parish in November on soybean production best practices
  • A monthly newspaper column in the ABC Gazette addressing current production issues
  • An exhibit at the State Farm Bureau convention held in X Parish in June
  • Field  demonstrations at four cooperating farms
  • A spring virtual seminar on Farm Financial Management
  • Development of a soybean production Website

Partners in this educational endeavor included the State and Parish Farm Bureau, the Soybean Growers Association, and local aerial applicators.

Example 3: Youth Development

Science, Engineering and Technology programs were conducted through special interest workshops, school enrichment, camps and clubs and were open statewide to all 4-H members. SET activities in which the parish’s 8th grade youth participated were Youth Wetlands Week, LOST Camp, Shooting Sports, Marsh Maneuvers, Wild Woods Wanderings, and Robotics Camp. Scholarships enabling participation were funded by the State Science Teachers Association and the Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, Extension educators participated in a training session on incorporating science and math activities into all 4-H projects conducted by the State Department of Education and the state 4-H staff.

Examples 1 and 3 are written in narrative form; example 2 in bulleted form. Either is acceptable. The key here is for you to identify the strategies you employed to address the issue at hand. Using numbers such as the number of workshops held, how many people came, number of blog posts, etc. will help readers understand the magnitude of your effort. The degree of detail you provide will be dependent on what your targeted audience wants or needs. Some may want more detail and numbers, while others may want just the big picture.

That brings up a critical reminder for writing impact reports: Write for your target audience. That may mean you need to tweak your impact report a little each time you use it. You may need to stress things a little differently, for example, when you write for your school board than you do when you write for a state legislator. The spin you put on it should reflect the interest of your audience.

Next time, we will look at the third R-RESULTS.

To learn more about the 3 R’s model and writing impact statements, visit the LSU AgCenter’s Impact Reporting Database or contact ODE.

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