How to craft your perfect Not-Profit annual report
Non-profits demonstrate their accomplishments with annual reports, which serve to develop trust with current and potential donors and supporters. Recognizing the contribution of donors is an important aspect of every annual report. However, non-profits often find themselves struggling with what to add and what not to.
This article outlines seven things you should consider when seeking to create the perfect not-profit annual report.
Accounting for every penny and explaining why you are spending money and time on an activity you have accomplished is crucial. Keeping your donors informed of the accomplishments and the impact of those accomplishments helps to solidify trust. It is better to mention your activities' results in your annual report rather than assuming the reader will automatically understand their significance. Likewise, these accomplishments should align with your mission statement.
Avoid adding internal administrative information.
In most cases, your readers don't need to know about the internal activities within the organization. There is no reason for donors to know that you employed new people and/or bought in new software to help manage workflows. It is far more important that you inspire them with your organization’s achievements, making sure that they align well with your mission and short-term goals in your annual reports. In other words, cut the fluff.
Talk less about your fundraising accomplishments.
Never boast about your fundraising accomplishments in your annual non-profit reports. While donors do need to know about the fundraising accomplishments, they don’t need to see them celebrated on the same level as the mission statement-oriented or result-oriented achievements. In other words, your donors need to know what you did with the money you raised, rather than how you raised it. While it is necessary to add the details of your fundraising efforts, this information can be added in the report's financial section with no special mentions or attractions.
Create a visual story
Showing your accomplishments visually is always more preferrable to long, drawn out, written statements. Include photos and graphs, as most readers will find it easier to connect through a solid visual. Adding to this, the images you include should showcase your activities and their impact, rather than the donors and volunteers. Invest in capturing beautiful pictures of your activities.
Having an in-house team of photographers and designers will significantly help in preparing your annual reports. If these are not an option, there are excellent annual report making software choices with themes and templates, allowing you to create visually-rich reports quickly. Just make sure to write the proper captions.
It’s important to tell a story with your captions, rather than simply state what’s in the picture. Connect your achievements with the captions and photos as readers tend to look straight at the captions after seeing the photograph. Your readers should understand your accomplishments just by seeing the images and reading the captions.
Include infographic financials and add a personal touch
General summaries of your works and financials will bore your readers and put them to sleep. Add a personal touch with the story of a volunteer who contributed immensely to the positive change or an individual who benefited through your works.
Likewise, infographics are always a solid bet. Infographics simplify complex information and make it easy for your donors to understand the numbers. A modern-day annual report making software has in-built abilities to add infographics into your reports. The infographics could easily connect how many lives you touched with the money you raised and spent.
Manage your donor list
Mentioning your donor's names and the government agencies that helped your organization with donations and grants in your annual report is a small recognition for your contributors. Be careful not to misspell the names and also include any abbreviations used for the government agencies.
Balancing space for your donors in your report is crucial. The most space in your report will go to your donor list, and you should carefully scale the available space for text, photos, and infographics. Prioritize listing important donors, and small contributors can be honored in your newsletters or on your social media posts.
Finish with a CTA
Restricting yourself from potential help or donation is the worst thing that can happen. Your supporters should know how to reach you and how they can help. After you inspire your readers with all the good you are doing, finish your annual report with how they can contribute to help your cause. Ask your readers to volunteer and support you with their time if they cannot donate money. Give them options, and the rest will follow suit.