Writing a Short Information Sheet About your Partnership

Producing an information sheet (or fact sheet) is a good way to be able to quickly and easily answer questions about your partnership and its activities. It can also be used when you apply for grants or awards.

A document like this can be: posted on a business or community group website, given out at special events, included in mailouts, with media releases and in media packs, and be made available at business and community group premises.

It can also be sent to: volunteers and staff, current and prospective supporters, potential funding sources and grantmakers.
And with a basic information sheet already drawn up,it can be easily tweaked, re-ordered or altered to compile an information sheet ideal for special occasions or specific needs.

The Format of Your Information Sheet

It is most important your information sheet looks neat, official, includes the logos of all partners and is well laid-out.

A professional and attractive information sheet gives your community business partnership an air of professionalism – not only promoting confidence among those who receive it, but also among partnership members themselves.

Some Basic Guidelines.

Layout.     

Among the formats you can use for your community business partnership information sheet are:
  • A basic A4 page.
  • An A4 page divided into two or three columns, designed to be easily folded so it can fit into a standard envelope.
  • An A4 page designed as a pamphlet or brochure.
Ideally, you will be able to swap the content around between a number of formats and print off small quantities, as you need them.     

Remember not to use small fonts, especially if your target audience is aged over 40. If your copy won't fit on to a page in 12-point text, trim the copy you are putting in the sheet.

Graphics and General Appearance.

  • Try and have the look of the sheet consistent with any of the partnership's other publications, and with your letterhead. Everything you produce should be recognisably similar, so the reader easily recognises your brand.
  • Break up the page with pictures or drawings, or even with blank space. Do you have good photos of your activities you can use?
  • Check any picture you're thinking of using by photocopying it, photocopying the photocopy, and so on, to see if it is still recognisable after this type of reproduction.
  • Also, it is vital to make sure the subjects in the photo have given their permission to have it used in your information sheet. 
  • Use boxes, bold type or a larger point size for important lines.

The Content of Your Information Sheet

A crucial consideration when developing content is to make sure the person reading it wants to keep reading, and not stop after skimming the first couple of paragraphs. There is more chance they will read on if you provide the following information:

What you do.
  • Provide a brief outline of who your partnership is, who is involved, what it does and what sort of services/projects/activities it undertakes. Say who in the community your partnership aims to help.
Why you do it.
  • Explain why your services are a good thing. You need to sell your services, not just list them, particularly if looking for funding, volunteers, sponsors and the like.
  • Talk about who in the community your partnership aims to help, and how it benefits both partners and the community as a whole.
  • Aim to persuade those reading your information sheet of the positive benefits of the work you do. Don't just say you're great – make those reading the fact sheet believe you're great.
What you need.
  • Your information sheet has already talked about what you do and how you help – now you need to state how other people can help you.
  • This is where you come out and state what your partnership is after – be it donations, volunteers, publicity, grants or support.
More information/Specifics for special purposes.
  • Remember not to overload your information sheet – it is only there to get people's attention and quickly convey your message.
  • Other information, including brochures, annual reports, reference to a web page, publication lists or membership forms can be included as extra information (if the items in question are only short) or referred to at the bottom of your information sheet if slightly longer.
Contact details.
  • Be sure to include all of your partnership's contact details on the fact sheet.
  • Double check to make sure names, numbers, address/es and email and internet details are correct and up to date.

Things Not to Include in Your Partnership Information Sheet

While there are plenty of things to include in a good information sheet, there are also a few things you should not include:
  • Don't put in anything except necessary information and sales pitches. Look at every paragraph and ask, "Will it interest anybody who knows nothing about us?" Some things to particularly consider avoiding are:
    • Anything longer than the briefest of background statements on the history of your partnership – keep it to when it was formed, and how and why it was formed.
    • Solely including photos of your partnership's hierarchy or its offices/outlets etc. Instead, find a photo that shows your partnership members at work – a much more interesting image.
    • Bad graphics or ClipArt. Put some time and effort into the fact sheet and use photos or other images instead.
Once your fact sheet is completed, make sure you have enough of them on hand around your partners' offices or headquarters, as well as extra copies in colour or black and white which are ready to attach to mail-outs, grant applications and media releases.

Make sure you have a copy and a back-up of the sheet on file – preferably on a computer. And finally, make sure you update the information sheet when necessary to make sure it does not get out of date.