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5 Objectives of a Nice Nonprofit Annual Report

What’s a nonprofit annual report?

An annual report is a standard publication of nonprofit organizations documenting their achievements and efficiency over the earlier 12 months. Effectively-rounded experiences stability forecasting the way forward for the group and establishing targets with reporting historic knowledge and program info. 

A great nonprofit annual report has targets!

When creating an excellent annual report, begin with the tip in thoughts. In case your group runs via the motions and produces a report since you all the time have, think about reexamining the aim. Utilizing the identical template for 5 years in a row or mailing a print piece with no solution to monitor engagement doesn’t serve your mission. An annual report must be a definite piece of your communications and advertising and marketing property. Since annual experiences are large tasks, it’s okay to anticipate extra of this signature piece. 

Listed below are 5 targets to pursue when creating an awesome nonprofit annual report:

Objective #1: Present Readability & Accountability

Conventional nonprofit annual experiences centered closely on monetary efficiency and statistical knowledge. Whereas text-laden, multi-page diatribes are actually much less widespread (thank goodness!), there’s nonetheless a necessity to incorporate sufficient element and transparency and construct belief. Listed below are some clarifying particulars your donors is perhaps desirous about:

  • Monetary reporting compared to funds
  • Programmatic breakdown of assets
  • Marketing campaign and mission progress
  • Staff and board member place modifications

Don’t be afraid to make use of graphs, charts, and graphics to depict the information. As a nonprofit group, your 990 tax return is publicly accessible, and if donors wish to dig deeper, they’ll. Nevertheless, since most donors received’t take the time to do additional analysis, present sufficient element so readers don’t fill within the blanks with assumptions. 

Professional Tip: In case you have lively donors in your board or fundraising committee, think about approaching them to overview the draft annual report earlier than you publish it. They are going to doubtless be honored to be a part of the method and admire the chance to provide enter.  

Objective #2: Encourage Dialog

Take into consideration your most concerned donor or volunteer. Then ask your self what to incorporate in your annual report which may even shock them. There’s no level in stating the plain or repeating beforehand shared info. Consider your nonprofit’s annual report as a showcase piece that conjures up curiosity and dialog. 

Tales of mission influence are essential, however sharing tales of the board or group improvement and collaboration with accomplice organizations demonstrates your nonprofit’s curiosity in steady enchancment. All these tales additionally lend themselves to exhibiting your group’s dynamic, particular person personalities, and tradition. 

Creating showcases of donor experiences additionally supplies your high supporters with a solution to begin a dialog with their community. How superior wouldn’t it be on your high donor to share their story via your annual report? It takes the strain off your donor to attempt to domesticate a chance and ensures the proper info is shared. 

Objective #3: Honor Supporters

Take the notion of showcasing your donor experiences one step additional. Your annual report is a incredible alternative to spotlight supporters who helped foster transformational change via your packages. Donors usually tend to perceive your mission and its influence once they see how their friends helped carry it out. 

The peer strain issue is actual, too. Take the United Means, for instance. By categorizing donors based mostly on giving degree, they persistently hold aspirational ranges of giving in entrance of their supporters. Whereas not all donors need their contributions referred to as out, others think about it motivational—each for themselves and for his or her neighborhood. 

Take into account distinctive methods to shine gentle on those that make your work doable. A video reel of testimonials and even quotes from supporters and volunteers is much extra highly effective than an inventory of names. 

Objective #4: Give Readers One thing Simple to Bear in mind & Laborious to Neglect

Take care to not dedicate an excessive amount of area to telling one story that, whereas shifting, is just too difficult for anybody to totally perceive or relay. An amazing annual report shares concise tales that reveal the connection between assist and influence in brief order. Ideally, your readers are so moved by what they learn that they share it with their community (see Objective #2 to Encourage Dialog above). 

Utilizing efficient storytelling practices helps narrate your group’s influence with out pointless fluff or problems. Ideally, present readers with a story that’s unforgettable and tied to the next equation: 

Help + Program = Influence 

To be efficient, simplify your tales. Allow your reader to simply determine their place within the equation (hopefully, underneath Help) and the way crucial they’re for it to work.

Objective #5: Impress

There’s nothing worse than an awesome story or compelling case that’s introduced poorly. If showcase materials contains your annual report, ensure that it’s introduced in a showcase trend! 

Nonprofit annual report example

Muskegon, Michigan Group Basis Annual Report 2020 pg. 5

Good design makes your message memorable. When creating an annual report, or another advertising and marketing asset for that matter, you must think about the influence it should make in your viewers. Ask your self “what’s our purpose?” Then don’t be afraid to get artistic. A artistic design will permit you to have interaction with extra of your viewers and make a bigger influence. By doing this, you usually tend to obtain the targets of fundraising, donations, or consciousness.

-Trevor Dickerson, Artistic Director at New Faculty


Whether or not you dazzle donors via a dynamic print piece or a multimedia method utilizing video, ensure that to impress. 

There’s At all times Subsequent 12 months

When you’re studying this post-publication of your annual report, don’t worry. There’s all the time subsequent 12 months. Begin planning early and obtain the Information to Nice Annual Experiences and analysis what types and media sorts to make use of. Work along with your group and volunteers to make sure you’re capturing tales and storing the required info to retell them when it comes time to provide your subsequent annual report.



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