5 Best Practices for Successful Nonprofit Annual Reports

5 Best Practices for Successful Nonprofit Annual Reports


Yesterday, we posted about the 5 Components of a Successful Nonprofit Annual Report. That post really focused on content, but today we have a more well rounded list of best practices that touch on content, mindset and design.

1. Fun to read

Yes, I said fun. Let’s be honest, who wants to read a report that looks long and boring? Even if the information might have the potential to be compelling, if the piece looks like work to read, it won’t get read. Sad, but true.?? The report should be an easy read that allows for skimming and scanning. Interesting photos, stories, pull quotes and facts? Yes, please!

2. Think of it as a fundraising tool

Let’s be honest, it requires a lot of time and at least some money to put together an annual report.So make sure you are getting the best return on your investment by preparing your annual report to work for you as a fundraising tool.

3. Remember your audience

If you take our advice and think of your annual report as a fundraising tool, remember that your audience isn’t familiar with your organization or insider lingo yet, so write for this audience using plain language.

4. Highlight your impact

You still need to thank your supporters and include your financials, but don’t forget to show the impact you are making. Readers want more than a long list of names, they want to see the people whose lives are better because of the work you do. They want to see those faces and understand their story. This creates an emotional connection to your organization and provides a level of understanding to your viewer that simple numbers and lists just can’t deliver.

Also consider how you can demonstrate your accomplishments, not just activities. Highlight your results and how you did it.

(Want to read more about five key components every successful nonprofit annual report should include? Check this out.)

5. Digital yes, but don’t go completely paperless

It’s undeniable that having access to your annual report online is a must. Many people expect to have the option to read that content on their computer, smartphone and/or tablet. But the fact remains that having a print piece that you can hold in your hands is still compelling. In fact, a research study shows that holding a piece of paper in your hands causes more emotional processing brain activity than viewing something digitally.

Get Up and Up Creative’s Help
Ready to make your next annual report an effective one that works for your organization? One that people will actually want to read? One that gives you a good return on all of the time and money you put into it?

We can help! 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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