5 Components of a Successful Nonprofit Annual Report

5 Components of a Successful Nonprofit Annual Report


It’s a new year, and we have annual reports on our mind. We want to help you get the most our of your report, so we started to put together a best practices list, which grew and evolved and ended up as two separate lists. Today, you get the first. Check in tomorrow for the second!

Let’s face it, annual reports require a large investment of time and resources, and of course, you want to get the best return on that investment. So before you jump into writing articles and creating lists, step back and make sure you’ve got these key components covered. Every nonprofit annual report should include:

1. Achievements, not just activities

What impact did you have this year? Don’t just explain your programs, but rather demonstrate the difference those programs made.

2. Quality photos and stories of real people

Isn’t that what your work is really all about…People? Help your audience really see the impact you have by giving your audience faces and names to connect with on an emotional level. And the truth is that stories are much easier to remember and relate to than just facts and numbers.

3. Financials

Supporters are looking for transparency and your financials are a big part of that. Show where the revenue comes from and how it is spent. It’s helpful to make the numbers easy to digest with pie charts or graphs and include a simple explanation to go along with it.

4. Thank your supporters

This doesn’t mean that you need pages of lists, but you need to make it obvious that you appreciate all of your supporters and give them thanks.

5. Call to action

Don’t get caught up in the idea that this is just a report. Rather, use this piece as a fundraising tool. You’ve highlighted your accomplishments, explained the numbers and spurred inspiration; now tell them exactly how they can help. It can be a full page or simply a sidebar, but make sure it doesn’t get missed.

Need some help? We love helping nonprofits create materials that get results. From the strategy through to the design, we can help take your next annual report to the next level. Contact us to get started.

Jami Fassett

Jami Fassett

I am a brand strategist passionate about using my time, talent and 12 years of experience to help people and communities. That is why I started Up and Up Creative, to help nonprofits use the power of branding to reach more people, raise more money and do more good.

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