What a Great Idea! – The Nonprofit Annual Report

Sections of this topic

    Is your nonprofit publishing an annual report? If not, you may be missing a big opportunity. Funders are interested in this report and posting it to your website is becoming a more important part of accountability and transparency standards. Having an annual report is required by Guidestar to have their Guidestar Exchange seal. If you have program accomplishments you’d like to brag about and are fiscally sound, this is a wonderful opportunity to toot your horn.

    Writing an annual report does not have to be a “going to the dentist” experience. Here are a few ideas:

    • Keep it brief and crisp.
    • A picture is worth a thousand words – Use them to show off your programs in action.
    • Charts work best for financial information – Pie, bar, line – whatever tells the story best.
    • What to put on charts – Sources of income, program distribution of funds, program/administrative distribution of funds, growth in clients served/audience/customers and whatever statistics you would like to show off
    • Feature major accomplishments rather than a long laundry list of everything you did last year
    • Tell anecdotal stories
    • Highlight a client, volunteer, board member or staff member

    Before you start, check out the NonprofitMarketingGuide.com by Kivi LeRoux Miller. On the subject of nonprofit annual reports, Kivi has an e-book, a pre-recorded webinar, a lengthy list of examples with links and free articles at her website. She is the expert in this field. Kivi has a four page annual report model, a postcard model and a video model

    On my blog at Marion Conway –Nonprofit Consultant I have just posted an article – From a Foundation Perspective – What Makes An Effective Nonprofit? – that summarizes a report on this subject by the Association of Small Nonprofits. One of the items they recommend foundations review is the annual report. If you’d like to see what else is on the list, visit my blog now.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.