It’s that time of year for organizations to develop annual reports. Annual reports can be a valuable tool for overviewing your organizations impact the past year to potential donors and funders. However for some, the annual report has become bland and boring. Your donors may even be able to predict what you will send out – same design, typography, and images you have been using for five years.
Here is your chance to put some kick into that report and try some of the ideas below to convey how important donors support was for last year’s success.
Explain Your Programs In an Infographic
Use an infographic to explain in a visual way how a beneficiary/client encounters your work and the process they go through by participating in your programs. The infrographic can help explain the enormity of the need and the impact you have in the community. This is a simple tool to draw the reader into your work while really understanding what you do on a day-to-day basis.
Show Cause and Effect Images
Think about creating an image timeline of a beneficiary. Take a page and devote it to a group of people you helped and show several images of them with pull quotes describing the various interventions of your programs. One photo is great; several showing that beneficiary change is impactful.
Describe Your Future Needs
Yes this is an annual report, but you have an opportunity to talk about how your past work builds upon what you need this year. Devote some space in the annual report to describe how last year’s accomplishments have advanced the organization but there are specific needs related to your strategic plan or organizational direction that still need to be accomplished. This is your fundraising positioning for this year.
Use a Map
Create a map detailing the scope of your work. Even if you are local or neighborhood based grassroots organization, create a map that shows where the people are that you serve. Use it to describe where is the greatest community need. Also make your map standout with images of the beneficiaries from those local areas. Here is your chance to impress donors with your breadth and depth in programs – don’t forget those numbers off the side that reinforce the reach you have.
Make It Come Alive with Video
Within the report use still clips of videos they can find online. Throughout the document use the clips and quotes from videos to tell the story of your impact. This is a great opportunity to pull the individual to your site and view the complete video online.
Incorporate what your followers and friends are saying about your work. Highlight tweets, posts, and other social media content in the annual report. Place these next to event photos, impact pictures, and other images showing the organization’s role in the community. This will inspire those reading to follow you and join those talking about the cause. Lastly, this is your chance to detail what conversations you have online with your followers. Don’t forget to mention the topics and the individuals that makeup your online communities.
We hope these ideas will help you get started on creating a great annual report that will begin your case of support for 2012. Share with us in the comment other ideas you have found successful in the past and if you have an online annual report we would love to see it.