As the year winds down, non-profits need to start planning their Annual Report to Donors.

While Annual Reports for non-profits are not required by law, they are a MUST DO if you want to retain or gain donors in the coming year.


So…how do you go about creating an annual report?

Do you look at a corporate annual report to get some ideas? NOOOO!

You know your donors, and you know who you want to attract next year, so write accordingly.

Developing your annual report is a great exercise for your Executive Director and team as it makes you reflect on your accomplishments, while making it evident where you can do better next year. It also forces you to create videos, infographics, and written content that can be used for many purposes in the future, such as grant writing, eblasts, and updating your website.

Here’s five things to think about before you get started:

  1. SIZE MATTERS –  Just because you’ve always done it a certain way, e.g. 20 page report with full financials, lots of pictures and tons of text…doesn’t mean your donors will read through the entire document, and it certainly doesn’t attract new donors who usually have busy schedules with limited patience and time to read. Consider shortening the format, and focusing on highlights.
  2. TIMING –  Plan to send out or post your annual report within one month of the end of your fiscal year.
  3. DIGITAL vs. PRINT – Create text and graphics that can be re-purposed in digital or print formats. If your donors are unaccustomed to receiving materials from you (other than thank you notes) via snail mail, don’t start now!  If you haven’t been posting your report on social media, do it!
  4. IMPACT vs. STATS – People have short attention spans these days, but they will take time to enjoy a warm and fuzzy story. Donors want to know that through their generosity, you have made an impact on the community. Financial summaries are important, but must be balanced with testimonials and demonstrations of people, animals, or communities that are better off because of your services.
  5. THE FUTURE – Be sure to include a call-to-action such as volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, or planned expansion that will demonstrate your need for their future engagement through their time and/or financial support.

Need help?

Use the form below and we help you create an Annual Report that will show your appreciation and help you raise dollars next year!

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