Your NFP Annual Report – why it needs to captivate your audience

Alan Jennings

Now, more than ever, there is increasing pressure on not-for-profits to demonstrate transparency and accountability.

Your stakeholders, including the general public, want to know what has been accomplished with the funds you received, what activities you have engaged in, what outcomes you’ve achieved and for whom, and how your organisation is making progress towards achieving its goals. It may seem like a lot of work but transparency can help foster public trust and build community support because it provides information about the impact your organization is making as a whole.

Tell a compelling story

Everyone – stakeholders, donors, grant-makers and government may read and assess your annual report to make important decisions that will affect your organisation.  So, it’s important that your document is professional, accurate, and interesting enough to keep their attention.  Use it to tell the story of your organisation and its people in a compelling way to gain a place in the hearts and minds of your readers.

Don’t think of your report as an historical account of what you did last year. Instead, think of it as highlights of the incredible results your supporters made possible. It’s the perfect vehicle to keep your lines of communication open and to recognise the involvement of all those who have helped you achieve your mission throughout the year.

Inspire support

So, seize the moment and inspire further support from donors who are reassured that their donation is making a difference to those in the community they care about. If your Report hits the mark, they may even share it with their family, friends and other prospective donors.

Getting​ started

The earlier you start to gather information the better the end result will be:

  • Identify the year’s highlights
  • Consider infographics or charts that will quickly capture achievements
  • Gather the stories of successful programs delivered
  • Gather first hand stories and testimonials from individuals whose lives have been touched by your work
  • Gather inspiring stories from volunteers
  • Collect relevant photos
  • Review board meeting agendas and minutes to gather an important information
  • Review media coverage for the year to recap any major events
  • Consider your outlook for the future
  • Start to gather financial information
  • Consider the format you will use for presenting this important information
  • Consider how stakeholders can submit feedback on your report
  • Remember, your Annual Report is a great communication tool. Ensure it does justice to the work you do.

Need a How-T​o Guide?

Download the free Annual Report Guide for Not-For-Profit organisations, covering all the essentials of NFP annual reporting – why you should invest in your report and how to tell your story in a more engaging way through storytelling and infographics. There are helpful ‘checklists’ to guide you through the process and a review of the ‘new’ options available for presenting your information. These options illustrate how you can utilise the capabilities of the internet for your growing online audience.

If you’re looking for guidance on the more traditional printed report, then you’ll find plenty of advice on that too.

Download your free copy of the Annual Report Guide for Not-For-Profit organisations today …

Posted in Annual reports, Not-for-profit