Working at a nonprofit organization is a highly energetic experience. Organizing fundraisers, recruiting volunteers, and interacting with donors make the commitment to a cause worthwhile. However, there is one obligation that can be viewed as an unpleasant task.
We are talking about writing and publishing your nonprofit’s annual report.
However, you should view the publication of an annual report as a marketing tool, not a droll document that bores readers to sleep. You present an annual report to impress individual donors, as well as corporations and foundations that are interested in your organization’s financial performance and the achievement of its lofty yearly goals.
With an annual report giving your nonprofit the opportunity to present your organization in a positive light, let’s see how you can effectively promote your nonprofit’s annual report.
Promote the Big Picture
Promoting your nonprofit with your annual report should follow the timeless advice given to writers across every genre: You must hook your readers within the first few seconds. Although hooking your readers can be difficult with an annual report, promoting the big picture first before presenting financial data is the way to go.
Present a Clear Mission
Before a foundation, corporation, or individual donor breaks out the checkbook, you must convince the potential source of revenue that your nonprofit has established a powerful mission. You can include your organization’s values and its purpose in no more than a couple of sentences.
Potential donors want to know what your nonprofit has accomplished, and the annual report represents the best form of communication to list your organization’s achievements. Describe the success of fundraising events, the successful effort to exceed volunteer recruitment goals, and the contributions made by the new members of your team.
Next Comes the Financial Information
Now that you have piqued the interest of your readers, the time has come to present the financial information that confirms the success of your nonprofit’s mission. Publishing an independent report issued by a third-party auditor demonstrates the publication of your organization’s financial statements follows Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Financial statements should include a Statement of Financial Position, as well as a Statement of Cash Flow.
A Statement of Cash Flow helps prospective donors understand how well your nonprofit manages its money.
What Other Issues Should I Consider?
The urge to cut costs might lead you to reject publishing your nonprofit’s annual report in a traditional print format. Resist the urge and deliver the news of the last year in both traditional print and digital forms. Adding information from other sources, such as interviews, podcasts, and a photo gallery, does a great job of further engaging readers.
Make sure to present information honestly, with a high level of transparency. Using direct quotes from donors, employees, and volunteers helps break up written content to provide a more enjoyable reading experience. Reward the readers of your annual report by offering something that grabs their attention.
Above all, keep your nonprofit’s annual report short and simple.
Ernst Wintter & Associates provides California nonprofit audits, broker dealer audits, tax services, and 401(K) audit services. Contact us for more information.