Annual reports help nonprofits keep their donors and volunteers informed and up to date. A well designed report can have a tremendous impact on potential donors, so be sure to take your time and make every word or image count. To help you create the best annual report possible, we have compiled some of the most effective tips and suggestions to keep your audience interested and involved.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
It is important that your report speaks to those who need to take action on your behalf. This includes donors, foundations, and the people who will be volunteering their time to make it all work. Displaying a level of transparency of your organization is paramount, so be sure to include graphics, charts, and financial information in ways that are easy to understand and work with. Your audience may lose interest if your report is too technical, but they won’t be convinced if the data is too vague.
Consider Going Paperless
A successful presentation may have more impact if you use a digital format than if you rely on traditional paper copies. You can still make a printed copy available for your audience to examine at a later date, but an initial digital presentation is often more impressive, easier to disseminate and upload to your website.
Utilize Key Information
Be honest and open, exploring the successful points in unison with those which are struggling. Do not be afraid to admit that some areas need more attention, but emphasize how your audience can change that. Using excerpts from interviews or short video clips will help illustrate your points, and direct quotes carry quite a bit of weight with decision makers. Above all, keep your talking points easy to understand and stick to pertinent information. Holding the attention of your audience is crucial in a situation where participation is being solicited.
Attracting Potential Donors
Your annual report is also a tool for potential donors. In an age, where nonprofit transparency is increasingly more important and changes to nonprofit financial reporting are forthcoming, providing access to current and past annual reports shows your organization’s commitment to transparency and to your donors.
Exempt organizations in the U.S. are required to disclose their annual returns to the public. Including audited financials in your annual report is a practice to consider adopting as it demonstrates transparency and may increase donor trust.
Nonprofit Audit Experts
Our nonprofit audit services give our clients peace of mind and help them decide how to best utilize their financial resources in the future.
Ernst Wintter & Associates LLP specialize in California non-profit audits and tax preparation. Contact us today for help with your non-profit audit or tax prep needs.