No doubt the upcoming weeks are going to be the busiest hours of the year. From Christmas fundraising, year-end fundraising to drawing curtains on the year, a lot needs to be done. Besides that, it’s time all your expenditures, funds raised and efforts flow into a report your nonprofit’s annual report.
Often it is assumed that an annual report with an elaborate, descriptive form of all the activities you conducted and your financial records lives up to the standard, We don’t know how exactly you navigated your way through the entire year, but what we know for sure is your nonprofit’s annual report should be short and should include more graphical representations and images. This will make the report visually appealing and hence will be viewed by more audiences.
Whether released in the print form or on the web, a typical annual report should include the following 5 essential elements.
Showcase achievements and not actions!
Your supporters are concerned about the accomplishments rather than the activities and actions you undertook. Your donors and supporters would be rather concerned about why you spent your funds the way you did and what results did the efforts bring in.
For a rather rich and fruitful account of your entire year’s campaigns and spendings, build your report on the following:
- What were the results of the campaigns you run?
- Why did you channelize your time, efforts and funds the way you did?
- How did it make a difference?
Let the stories of “people you serve” speak
If you think your long-form, explanatory report about the campaigns you run will entice people to give, then you are probably wrong. Real stories are what inspire people. Start narrating stories of your work that had an impact on people. Feature profiles, pictures, and testimonials of the people in whose life you have made a difference.
The financials – an important aspect of your annual report
The government norms do not require a nonprofit to produce a balance sheet. Here you would want your finance report to draw the focus of your supporters. It could be a full-fledged report or a concerned piece of the capital spent. We would rather suggest you publish a few chunks of numbers that are obligatory. You may even represent them in the form of pie charts or in graphical representations rather than in the form of a long table. Do not bombard your supporters with financial jargon. Seldom will a person turn out to be a sage in finance. Explain to them your financial reports in plain English.
Your donors are your lifeline – appreciate them
Thanking and giving due recognition should not be a thing of holidays and special days. Although it should be an all-year-round activity, maintaining the spirit of gratitude through your annual report holds a certain degree of importance. After all, appreciating your donors who go out their way to support your cause will reflect how much your donors are important to you.
Complete it with a Call To Action (CTA) button
While scrolling through an eCommerce or a service-based website, you must have definitely come around the “clickable” buttons that redirect you to take an action. These clickable buttons are known as call-to-action buttons. Just because you have made available all the achievements, accomplishments and financial reports for your supporters to go through, does not mean your job has come to an end. Since you have made your donors, supporters, and people in-general walk through your annual report, possibilities are that they might be enticed to make a gift right away. Would you like to miss out on such a golden chance? No, right. A CTA button will play the trick. Embed a CTA button at the end of the report that will take them to an exclusive donation page created for the report or even an already existing donation page.
The bottom line
Focus on including accomplishments rather than actions and try making it visually appealing. Incorporate your financial report but be cautious about what you include. Pouring numbers that do not concern your supporters has drawbacks rather than positives. It will make them skip the data or even deter them from taking a further look into your report. Keep your annual report as crisp as possible. This helps your supporters grasp the report more easily. And finally, show them the route to donate right away by adding a call-to-action button.