SSP Program Data and Reporting Hacks


Reporting is the process of writing up your data and analysis. Reports fall into two broad categories:

Internal – meaning they are for the board, staff, or other stakeholders in your organization. These are often used for strategic planning and program development.

  • Annual reports
  • Board reports
  • Needs assessment reports
  • Financial reports

External – meaning they are for funders, partners, public entities, or the general public.

  • Grant/donor reports
  • Audits

Best Practices for Reports

These are some of the best practices for creating reports cited by harm reduction leaders:

  • Make a plan – Make a plan for how you collect the necessary data and when you will do the write up – and stick to it. Note that this may include who you will need to contact for specific information.
  • Don’t procrastinate – Do not put off gathering your data and information until just before your report is due – it only makes you miserable.
  • Decide on who and what you need – When you begin writing, figure out who you’re writing for (donors/funders/board etc.) and what you need from them (more money/ a healthy relationship/ more support etc.). This will help guide your writing.
  • Be brief – Keep brevity in mind when writing and try to edit for length.
  • Make a skeleton – Make an outline before you start writing.
  • Make a template – To save time with frequent reports, make an outline that you can save as a template for future reports of the same type.
  • Illustrate your points with stories – Where possible and appropriate, use anecdotes to illustrate your point. Data can be dry and abstract while stories offer details for people to connect to.
  • Read the instructions – This should go without saying, but make sure to do this even when you think you know what they are.
  • Use another set of eyes – Have another staff person or colleague you trust read through, review, and edit your writing. For very small programs this is an excellent task for board members.

More Resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
Suggest a Resource

External Resources

Collected from around the web
There are a number of external resources that contributed to the development of Harm Reduction Hacks. Here are a selection relating to this section:


The hacks on this site are shared with you under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence. This allows you (with attribution) to adapt content for your own use, although we do ask you to then also allow others to have equal access to anything you develop. More details of this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.


We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.

Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation. 

Harm Reduction Hacks site design and implimentation by Nigel Brunsdon

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