7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Annual Report 

It’s that time again. Time to show your donors, community members and volunteers how you’ve made an impact thanks to the help of their money, service hours or in-kind sponsorships. But your annual report has the power to become more than just validation of your organization. By carefully crafting your report, you design a piece that benefits your organization for weeks or months to come.

Here are seven tips to guide you on your way to perfecting your annual report.

  1. Tell a story.

    Use testimonials or success stories about the clients and community you serve. Avoid large blocks of texts as the reader will most likely just skip over it. Break up the story with subheadings and pull quotes. Don’t talk about YOU—talk about how your donors impacted your clients.

  2. Use authentic images.

    Make sure your annual report uses real, authentic images of the people you’ve impacted as much as possible. Aim to use photos with 2 to 3 people in them instead of large group photos. Don’t have great images? Plan to start taking high quality photos for next year’s report! 

  3. Make it visual and understandable.

    Have a lot of data to share? Use social math to make your data more relatable and tie it to concepts people easily understand. Use infographics to help the reader consume complicated statistics.  

  4. Save trees (and money).

    Save your donors’ names for a digital version to reduce pages and save money on printing. Or eliminate donors’ names all together and find other ways to recognize them! And when you do print the annual report, review and fine tune your list to make sure you only print what is necessary.

  5. Create a digital experience.

    Consider creating a digital experience on your website for your annual report, in addition to a short print version. Incorporate video, slideshows and additional links to highlight the impact you’ve made in the last year.

  6. Make it work twice (or more).

    You’ve probably invested quite a bit in creating your annual report and maybe even hired a designer to pull it all together. Make sure you can reuse these elements in future communication and fundraising pieces. Work with your designer to create elements to be used as stand-alone pieces. 

  7. Include calls to action.

    It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes you just need to tell your audience what you want from them. If you talk about a specific program and want donations, spell it out and make sure you tell them how to donate.

You know what sparks the fire and empowers your donors to give—use these tips to keep that fire burning. If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you create a game-changing annual report, contact me today. 


Annual Report Portfolio

NonprofitHeather White