The Ultimate Guide to Creating Nonprofit Annual Reports
Annual reports are an important end-of-the-year step that helps communicate the impact that a non-profit has made within their field of work. They’re a necessary task to end the year and can contribute to the growth of the organization heading forward.
If done well, nonprofit annual reports can attract new members, convey a message and mission statement, thank the people who have contributed to its success, be conducive to sharing, and be easy to read and follow for whomever comes across it.
Below is a comprehensive guide to creating a nonprofit annual report that will reflect your impact and encourage contributions in the future.
Present a Narrative in your Nonprofit Annual Report
While you want to include things like numbers, outcomes, and achievements, these don’t have to be presented in cut-and-dried ways. Most nonprofits are working towards the betterment or actualization of a goal or set of goals. Your mission statement, statement of purpose, and role as an entity should be highlighted through your annual report.
Here are some ways you can tell your story through your annual reports:
- Talk about the humble beginnings that your nonprofit came from and how far its come throughout the years.
- Use the yearly calendar as a basic chronological template. What were some of the goals you had mapped out at the beginning of the year? How were those goals achieved and with whose help were they achieved with?
- Map out what was spent based on the achievements, events, and success stories of the year.
- Highlight the individual people, communities, or regions that were impacted by your nonprofits efforts. This could be as small as a inner-city event or as big as a nation-wide fundraising campaign.
- Highlight the people who were most involved in the efforts of your nonprofit. Whether this includes people within the nonprofit or outside sources, put a face onto your achievements and make your story personable.
Nonprofit Annual Report Visuals
While an annual report is primarily about the numbers, you don’t want your readers to get lost in heavy handed statistics and diagrams. You want your nonprofit annual report to be aesthetically appealing and easy to follow. Pictures, infographics, and colorful graphs are all great ways to present your annual numbers in a fun and visually appealing manner.
Using appealing images will also take less pressure off of you to find the right words to convey a successful year. For example, you can provide a size-measured comparison between two infographics that show your achievements this year from the previous, allowing the images to do the talking for you.
Thank your Supporters
It would be better not to publish an annual report at all if you didn’t include a big thank you to your supporters. Of course, you’ve probably provided your supports with ample thanks and reminders of your gratitude throughout the year. Publishing it in an annual report, however, will remind those individuals of how far their contributions went to the success of the entire year.
It’s a good idea to contribute one entire section of your annual report to provide thanks to those involved. This section should include:
- A list of individuals who donated to your organization.
- A list of individuals who volunteered for any event your nonprofit was involved in.
- A categorization of donors and contributors based on how much they donated.
- Any third-party supporters or government programs that were involved in your work.
- A personal thanks to key members or individuals.
- Any additional businesses, restaurants, or organizations that may have contributed in one way or another.
Look to the Future in your Annual Report
The efficacy of highlighting the achievements and success of the past years will be partly measured by your ability to enable action for the future. Provide upcoming plans for your nonprofit, your long-term vision, and immediate ways that individuals and organizations can look to get involved in the near future.
This can be done by reminding your donors of everything else that still needs to be done and providing them with links and information to get involved again. Especially if your report is made available online, you want to capitalize on links to websites and upcoming projects.
Additionally, you want to make sure that the report is easy to find and share. Presenting it through the relevant social networks, upcoming meetings and events, and throughout your perennial emails are some of the first things you should be looking at for spreading the annual report.
Whether you’re a small nonprofit or internationally recognized organization, ACME is here to help you achieve all your goals and benchmarks for the upcoming year. Our ticketing technology will not only get you more members, but it will help you manage your donor relations and keep track of all of the donations you receive through our powerful CRM technology.
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