Bring Your Annual Report into the 21st Century!

As the year draws to a close many nonprofits are scurrying to prepare for their upcoming annual meetings – which, most likely will be accompanied by an official annual report. For all the time, talent and treasure that go into the publication of an annual report, sadly it is seen by few, read by fewer and ends up in the recycle bin or someone’s email trash folder. Not at all our original intention.

After all, an annual report is our opportunity to share our year’s most stellar accomplishments with those we serve, work and interact with in our communities. How can we create an annual report that is engaging, relevant and inspiring that will keep our readers captivated?

Here are our favorite ways to modernize the annual report and make it 21st Century-savvy:

  • Deliver your key accomplishments in a short, concise manner. You can say as much in a few memorable words as you can by hiding your highlight awash in a sea of unnecessary text.
  • Visual storytelling is essential – consider how we have become a visual society via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest just to name a few! Consider colorful graphics and charts to highlight your statistics or to tell your story. Visuals evoke emotion and can connect with your readers on a more personal level than words on a page often do.
  • Provide an online version that can be shared with a larger audience – especially since this is how most people get their news and information in today’s tech-savvy world. Online versions can be shared directly on your agency’s website, Facebook page and other social media outlets and can be made as interactive as you like. This is a terrific way to reach new supporters and followers.
  • Provide a summary of your annual report. While this may seem as though you are drawing attention away from the scope of your full report, a formal one-page summary provides the key features you want to share, providing readers with the most essential information at a glance.

If you are still unsure about adopting any of the suggestions above, keep one thing in mind – quality is always better than quantity!

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