How to write a nonprofit annual report

how to write a nonprofit annual report

Nonprofit Annual Reports: 8 Essential Tips [& Template]

State clearly the organization’s mission and relate the activities back to the mission throughout the report. Give a clear statement of performance objectives and targets and describe how they link to the mission. Disclose your organization’s risks, issues and challenges in the context of the Tatiana Morand. A nonprofit annual report should include the organization’s achievements, financial statements, expression of thanks, and a call to action. Unlike a business report, a nonprofit report is not a legal requirement. It is made for the benefit of the organization and the individuals involved.

Writing your nonprofit annual report is critical to the continued success of your organization. But it can be a daunting task. Start with the six essential elements of an annual report, expand your skillset with five best practices, and finally, peruse a selection of three specially curated sample reports. An exhaustive list of every project your organization is working on is not what you need for this section. Instead, choose programs or campaigns that were great successes or generated vital lessons.

Even a failed program may be useful to include if it helps demonstrate a need for the upcoming year. If it was an exceptionally challenging year, use a campaign as a case study to explain how your organization dealt with issues and make recommendations for the future. Be sure to relate each update, observation, or what county do i live in texas to your mission statement.

You can compare numbers from this year to your goals, data from the previous year, and other organizations working nonprofitt your field. People love to see reliable data, and they especially love to see it laid out graphically—more on that later. Lastly, leave out nonprofi program updates, staffing changes, and anything what is an ips file. So try your best to be engaging.

Administrative updates can go in an oft-neglected corner of your website. Transparent disclosure of revenue, overhead, expenditures, etc. You may also choose to provide data from previous years to show critical changes selectively. Keela uses artificial intelligence to create genuine insights from your data that are perfect for your annual report. Your annual report is one of the most visible and enduring what is the significance of the northern european plain of content your organization will publish.

What better place to thank those who have been instrumental to your achievements? Compose a sincere message of gratitude anbual supporters, donors, volunteers, and sponsors. Include thank you messages from those who have benefited from your programs. Thank major and corporate donors individually. Try to pare your gratitude down to include major and recurring donors. You may choose to list all donors at certain donation tiers but be reasonable about it—no one is going how to grade silver dollars read dozens of pages listing hundreds or thousands of names.

Be sure to include upcoming changes, goals, and your w for the coming years. Although your annual report is not an appropriate place for a direct fundraising ask, your concluding section can include a gentle call to action. Provide a soft ask and direction on how supporters can make contributions. What is the most powerful diesel truck engine audience is likely to consist of a broad cross-section of demographics; try to adopt a semi-formal tone that how to write a nonprofit annual report your overall brand.

If your organization has a history of writing fun content with jokes and vivid metaphors, add some of that to your content. If you largely depend on serious, elderly, wealthy major donors, consider sticking to more formal language.

Regardless of the audience, avoid jargon that only nonprofit insiders would know. Keep the donor or sponsor, or volunteer top of mind while you compose your nonprotit. Some easy ways to stay donor-centric:. You are not writing the encyclopedia entry for your wrige you are trying to engage your readers.

The best way to do that is to mix it up using visual elements to break up text blocks. Pages of text exposition may get your point across.

Still, illustrations such as photos, videos, charts, graphs, pull quotes, and other visual elements make for a more comfortable and enjoyable reading experience. This tactic helps your audience better understand complex data. Making bold claims in your report is one thing; backing them up with data is another.

Wherever possible, include statistics to prove your point or provide context. Venngage also offers some handy annual report templates. Lastly, a note about restraint: just because you have access to every number ever recorded by your organization does not mean they all have to go in your report.

Then have someone else check it. Then another person. No one is a perfect editor, especially when it comes to editing their work. We only selected digital reports; we recommend going digital for a few reasons:. Plus, a PDF is easy to print if they need to have copies in meatspace. This nonprofut makes excellent use of the tools offered by Yearlyincluding significant inclusion of multimedia like video, maps, charts, and more.

It makes sense that a nonprofit that teaches girls to write computer code would have an annual report that takes full advantage of modern web technology. The dedicated landing page for this nonprofit annual report is lower on text than National Park Foundation, replacing it with animated content, mouse-over video, images, color blocks, and more, all on a single long-scrolling page. We dig deep into the nitty-gritty of keeping your supporters informed and engaged every year—and the template features puppies!

Let's get back to impact. Select Your Country. Do you need help writing your Nonprofit Annual Report? We've compiled a sure-fire annual report template and amnual guide to ensure you pull together a document your stakeholders can get inspired about.

Program Updates. Special Mentions. Looking Ahead. We made Nonprofit Annual Report writing easier for you! Edit your work: check and recheck. Make it Donor-Centered. Some easy ways to stay donor-centric: Show gratitude wherever possible. Demonstrate the benefits your organization brings to the donor and the world Show accomplishments, not fundraising totals Use donor stories or case studies to illustrate value. Add real quotes from donors and beneficiaries to help make your point.

Use Multimedia. Use Data to Make Your Point. Edit your Work: Check and Recheck. Annual Report Examples to Inspire You. We only selected digital reports; we recommend going digital for a few how to write a nonprofit annual report Lower cost of production: printing is expensive Shareability means digital reports reach more people, which creates a better perception of transparency Save trees Easy linking: provide context with links to your website Digital reports can be interactive and engaging for readers.

National Park Foundation. National Gaucher Foundation. Girls Who Code. Consider Yourself Primed. Effective nonprofit web design can attract and convert donors. Sharing is Caring: Facebook Fundraising for Nonprofits. Facebook gives nonprofits the ability to engage donors and raise more money online. Learn tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook fundraising nojprofit. Learn how nonprfit install, use, and act on your data with these best practices.

Keela is a comprehensive platform that gives you nonprofot, intelligent tools to manage your donors, mobilize your volunteers, ahnual your nonprofit, and raise more money. Donors Management. Keela helps us have sincere and timely communication with donors. I can see donations come in, in real-time, and respond to donors appropriately. Nonprofits must adhere to solicitation regulations to avoid legal consequences. Get your ducks in a row by learning the basics of online fundraising compliance.

When you consider data is more coveted than oil, you'll realize your nonprofit is a goldmine. If your team juggles between spreadsheets, deliverables, and deadlines, don't look any further. Here are the best project management software for nonprofits.

Learn how to track KPIs for nonprofits and use them to grow your organization. To raise more money, you need an easy yet effective way to collect online donations. Here's an 8-step guide to maximize your digital contributions.

Mother's Day is a special day, and nonprofits can use this occasion to raise money effectively. Terms of Service Privacy Policy.

4 Nonprofit Annual Report Examples to Get You Started

Many nonprofit professionals greet annual report creation with groaning and moaning. This is because nonprofit reporting has a bad reputation. These reports considered a time suck and poor use of funding. Plus, in the aftermath of COVID, nonprofits like yours are forced to face and reanalyze the impact that the virus had on the organization.

When well-crafted, this document can be a vital tool to retain and grow gifts from your donors. This article is designed to guide your organization through the creation process, transforming your annual report into this helpful tool. Ready to dive a little deeper into nonprofit annual reports and how you can craft yours to maximize the impact at your organization?

This is what gives these reports the reputation of being a waste of time and energy. Consider your nonprofit strategies and how your annual report can support those strategies. Generally, the report will make the greatest impact on those strategies which have subjects who directly interface with the document — your donors, supporters, and stakeholders.

The greatest strategy supported by your annual report is likely your fundraising strategy. For instance, when it comes to your donor retention a key element of a successful fundraising approach , you should use your nonprofit annual report to:. This will help guide the creation process, ensuring you include the elements in the report that will best support each of your objectives. Donor retention is one of the most common strategies supported, but your annual report can be used for much more.

As you write your annual report, the temptation might be to use the document as a platform to brag about all that your organization has accomplished. During the creation process, be sure to write yo ur report in a donor-centric manner to ensure it reaches your audience on a personal level. This means you must meet donors on their terms, delivering the right message in the right format at the right time.

These are the donors who will value and appreciate a full book-like style of an annual report with all sorts of stories, and information.

You may consider sending a single page of infographics rather than a full report to these donors. The format of your annual report is a key decision to make and the choice should be based on what you anticipate your audience will read. Understanding your audience demographics and preferences is the first step to ensuring your annual report is designed for their needs.

You-attitude is all about putting accomplishments in terms of your donors rather than your organization. Try to keep them at the center of the subject matter at all times.

For instance, compare the following sentences:. The second sentence uses you-attitude and is more likely to hold the attention of your supporters throughout a document like your nonprofit annual report. Instead, break up the information with infographics, graphs and charts, images of supporters and volunteers, and other interesting graphics. Visuals make it easier for supporters to scan through your nonprofit annual report and pull out the data that means the most to them.

Plus, it breaks up the text, making the content more engaging and enjoyable for the reader. Every year, nonprofits are required to submit a Form to the IRS. Technically, in many cases, the annual Form is the only required annual report for nonprofits. You might not be technically required to file a nonprofit annual report other than your Form However, this is the type of report that is more likely to engage and provide additional context for supporters.

We highly recommend including a full-fledged annual report in your annual strategy, maximizing your impact by including the following elements:. While you may not be entirely required to file a nonprofit annual report past your annual Form , you are held accountable by the expectations of the document. The traditional nonprofit annual report is a book-length document. For example, there are people like Warren Buffet who invested in IBM because they had sent him a printed annual report.

Book-length reports provide the time and space that your nonprofit needs to sell the vision of your organization so that people like Warren Buffet will feel compelled to give. In this story, The Rhode Island Foundation published a well-designed, well-written report. They cut down on the number of reports they mailed directly the report is available online but made sure to continue sending the paper version to some local lawyers. An elderly man walked into the office of one of these local lawyers, prepared to write a will and get his affairs in order.

While he waited to be seen, he picked up one of the copies of the Rhode Island Foundation annual report. Years later, upon his passing, the Rhode Island Foundation received a small fortune from that generous man, all thanks to a printed annual report. Remember that you can always post your full report online and use other formats to summarize information and invite your supporters to visit your website to view the entire document. Some other unique formats that you may use to convey your annual report include a large postcard, a self-mailer, and a video.

Large postcards are designed to be shorter so that supporters can quickly and easily skim the report rather than read a lengthy document or book. Instead, you should use the format to highlight the most important information. Be sure your large postcard does the following:. For example, you may leave out the appreciation of your major supporters here, but choose to erect a donor recognition wall to show your gratitude in another way.

You can send this postcard through direct mail and email. You may also choose to post it on your website or on social media in order to reach a greater audience. Another option is a page report structured as a self-mailer and sealed with a wafer seal. When you design a self-mailer, follow these best practices:. While this type of nonprofit annual report is designed to be physically mailed, make sure to also ask for a PDF version when you get it printed. This will allow you to email it to your donors to gain the attention of those who may miss it in their mailbox.

However, to make sure the video will be well-crafted, your nonprofit should:. Video annual reports for nonprofits are limited to digital formats. Consider your own nonprofit audience and what format they will respond best to for an annual report.

When it comes to images and visuals on your annual report, you need to put quite a bit of thought into the choice. Images should never be distracting. They should be helpful guides when it comes to conveying important information within your nonprofit annual report. Ask for volunteers to review the document and provide feedback about the imagery used before you send your report out. Or, you might hire a professional graphic designer to help organize all of the information in a visually compelling way.

Honesty really is the best policy, especially on your nonprofit annual report. In addition to honesty about financials, projects, and setbacks, make sure to honestly and genuinely thank your contributors in your nonprofit annual report. Highlighting overachievers in your report does two different things: 1 It shows your gratitude for those who go above and beyond to support your nonprofit and 2 it gives other supporters something to strive for.

Remember what we said about Warren Buffet? He invested in IBM because he was impressed by their plan for the future. Forward-facing plans excite your donors and inspire them to continue contributing in the future. Provide some action items that supporters can take part in right away such as the URL to your donation page, meeting dates, and upcoming event registrations so that they can show their support.

Ernest Hemingway compared a blank piece of paper to a white bull. In addition to all of the images and annual report examples throughout this article, we also want to link you to three of our favorite nonprofit annual reports. You can find those below:. The Rhode Island Foundation annual report is a full-fledged, book-like document that takes a deep dive into the various projects and campaigns from the past year. Primarily, they use pictures of supporters and team members for the imagery used in the document.

You can access the entire report with the link above to see if this style of nonprofit annual report will be most impactful for your audience. The World Wildlife Fund of Canada chose in to design a video for their nonprofit annual report. This short two-and-a-half-minute video walks through the accomplishments from the previous year and pairs that information with clips of running rivers and wildlife.

The above screenshot from this annual report video shows how WWF Canada used a map to visually communicate their impact across the country. The audio over this segment of the video fully explains what the different labels on the map mean and how they connect to the larger mission.

You can access the entire WWF Canada annual report video to see how their high-quality recording and clear audio bring a level of professionalism to the video-style nonprofit annual report. The Literacy Volunteers of Bangor chose to send out an annual report postcard to their supporters in This example provides highlights of the important metrics and information from the previous year.

These examples show how creative you can be with your annual report and the different templates you can use to design it. The templates and annual report examples throughout this article should help your nonprofit get started making your annual report the best it can be. Good luck! Create a donor-centric nonprofit annual report. Consider the nonprofit annual report requirements.

Choose a nonprofit annual report platform. Choose compelling visuals for your nonprofit annual report. Be honest and appreciative in your nonprofit annual report. Use your nonprofit annual report to look forward. Consider nonprofit annual report templates and examples for inspiration. Your nonprofit annual report should support a larger strategy. For instance, when it comes to your donor retention a key element of a successful fundraising approach , you should use your nonprofit annual report to: Remain transparent about financials.

Donors respond positively to honesty about your financials. Be sure to explain exactly what their donations are funding, including your projects throughout the past year, campaigns accomplished, and constituents served.

Provide donors with hope for the future. Show appreciation for your supporters. Therefore, show them the appreciation they deserve.

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