After completing the analysis of costs and benefits you need to prepare a convincing business case that tells a story, including some or all of the following:
- Demonstrate how engagement delivers value for money
- Demonstrate the benefits achieved through the engagement
- Identify cases where engagement is not delivering good value for money, and why
- Identify the lessons for future engagement strategies and practice
Include softer outcomes
Don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to using monetary measures – anecdotal evidence and quotes can be very persuasive alongside the monetary benefits.
The value of non-monetary benefits should not be underestimated and in the long term can also bring down the monetary costs. How you use your findings will depend on the type of business case you have decided to create.
Choose the right medium
There are many ways to make the business case; for example PowerPoint, reports and face to face study visits can all be good ways to make the benefits clear to decision makers. Be creative. The format and style of the business case should depend on who you want to speak to. If you are trying to convince an executive member of staff then consider a one page report. If you need to convince the public or a wide range of stakeholders then a short press release might be most useful.
Presentations are a good way to demonstrate your business case, especially if you are looking to showcase your work to colleagues from within or outside your organisation.
Get the content right
In most cases a short report will be the most effective way to present your results as it will allow you to get across all the information to a variety of people at the same time. A report should contain the following:
A brief summary
Make sure that you get the key messages out in the first few sentences. That way busy senior staff will not have to read the whole report.
After talking your audience through the broader drivers for engagement, be clear about the specific aims of the project and highlight any legal or regulatory frameworks that require or encourage engagement.
The costs and benefits
Refer to the costs at an early stage rather than in the middle of the report or presentation. Use different types of evidence to paint a fuller picture of the engagement, add colour to reports by telling stories, providing quotes and pictures.
A brief methodology
Provide an account of how you got the information, the indicators you used, and how you gathered the data for the business case. If you have used any proxies make it clear where you used them, how you found them and why they are appropriate. Scrutinise your data, identify any gaps or inconsistencies.