The Chronicle of Philanthropy offers some good advice on strengthening your annual report.  Here are a couple of takeaways to get you started:

  • Focus on using language that appeals to your readers (i.e. volunteers and donors). Don’t let your staff write an annual report that uses insider jargon or high level theoretical verbage that turns off the generalist reader.  Remember, 85% of most donor bases are made up of individuals.  Write for this audience and make the report accessible and easy to understand.
  • To save costs on mailing the report, trim your mailing list to include only donors who have given in the past two years. Use social media channels to reach others by including a web link to an electronic version of the report.
  • Consider going to a shorter format of only 2 to 4 pages. Focus your message and use infographics to convey key messages.  With busier schedules these days, most donors want information in a quick format.
  • Use storytelling to highlight your mission and gather these stories from throughout the year so that you’ll have a strong bank to draw from when the time comes to work on the annual report. For online versions of the annual report, consider using short videos imbedded into the content.