Alison Symington, Everyday Advocacy

My Voice

Reporting doesn’t have to be painful

When I was formally employed at a human rights organization, I dreaded writing reports for funders. Trying to fit our activities within their outcome areas. Editing (and more editing) to squeeze our info into the funders’ template and restrictive word counts. I resented the time spent reporting rather than getting on with the work.

But I have discovered something surprising since I’ve been writing for clients. Writing reports for funders can really be quite a fun exercise in storytelling and strategizing! Writing grant reports for others (as opposed to reports about my own projects) is really rewarding work.

While most people don’t like writing funding reports, they LOVE talking about their work, their successes, and their plans. So, I have fascinating conversations with passionate social justice advocates — why they chose to implement a project in a certain way, how they brought in different elements, what they enjoyed most about it, etc. They tell me about memorable clients, turning points in a campaign, and their creative solutions to challenges along with way. We strategize about what they could do next, how to scale up or branch out, and the longer-term changes they are working towards.

I look at their primary documents and talk to the folks who were involved. And then I tell the story, in a funding report. I enjoy it, and it is a hassle crossed off their to-do list. Not painful and even efficient.  🙂