Writing a nonprofit annual report can be tricky. You want to make sure current donors really read it while also appealing to potential donors. You want to express gratitude and inspire action. Most importantly, you want to show off your year’s accomplishments.
Here are Donorbox’s tips on how to create an engaging annual report as well as some of our favorite examples of nonprofits who did it best.
How To Create Non Profit Organizations Annual Reports
1. Use visuals
Convey the impact your nonprofit has had through pictures or infographics or a combination of the two. Avoid huge blocks of text (that may not be read!) and opt for more pictures and fewer words.
WHO DID IT BEST: Boys & Girls Clubs of America
2. Make it personal
Tell individuals’ stories. Humanize the success that is the result of your fundraising and hard work. Select meaningful quotes and pictures that highlight the best of your nonprofit organization’s work.
WHO DID IT BEST: Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
3. Be Transparent
Be honest about your successes and the areas that you can (and will!) improve in. Transparency is key in building and maintaining the trust of your donors and is a crucial aspect of any nonprofit’s annual report.
WHO DID IT BEST: Watsi
Watsi embraced transparency in their 2016 nonprofit annual report. They highlighted their biggest triumphs and pitfalls, including credit card fraud and inefficient operations, and showcased their attitudes of growth and positivity while doing so!
4. Be Specific
Be specific about how donations were used and the ways in which your nonprofit created a real impact. Your donors want to know how their money is helping! Use specific stories, campaigns, or events (while using visuals and making them personal!) to showcase the difference your nonprofit is making.
WHO DID IT BEST: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
They use statistics to show exactly where funds are going- to computer labs and workshops and case studies in this case.
5. Say “Thank You”
Convey gratitude throughout the annual report. Some nonprofit annual reports dedicate pages to individual and corporate donors. Whichever style you choose, be sure that your report exudes appreciation.
WHO DID IT BEST: CalNonprofits
6. Inspire action
Tell your readers how they can continue to support your organization. Be specific and include the various ways that readers can continue or begin to support your nonprofit. Talk about your needs and the most beneficial ways to help. Click here for more tips on how to create a compelling call to action.
WHO DID IT BEST: Charity: Water
7. Include the Financials
Include the financials in easy-to-understand graphs and charts. You don’t need to go into extreme detail, but let your supports know where your revenue came from and where you spent that money.
WHO DID IT BEST: Be the Match
Be the Match breaks down their financials in a colorful and easy-to-comprehend infographic that shows exactly how they spend their money.
Nonprofit Annual Report Templates
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of where to find templates for your nonprofit annual report.
- Social Solutions’ Annual Report Template
- Reach’s Four Nonprofit Annual Report Templates
- Instant Magazine’s Digital Reports
- Domo’s Custom Reports