5 Nonprofit Annual Report Essentials

Should You Publish Your Nonprofit Annual Report?

YES! Don’t be shy. Publishing your Nonprofit Annual Report will put you in the spotlight – in a good way! It’s a great approach to spread the word about what your organization accomplished over the last year while asking for more support.

Although there is no legal requirement to publish your Nonprofit Annual Report, there are so many benefits in doing so. Besides demonstrating your accomplishments, building relationships, and giving thanks, publishing your report gives a complete picture of your organization. More importantly, it provides the financial transparency needed to appeal to prospective donors. Read more about the importance of nonprofit transparency here.

When Should You Release Your Annual Report?

Although there’s no deadline, most large nonprofit organizations release their reports at the end of May or beginning of June of the following year.

 

2 Quick Questions to Get You Started:

1. Who is your audience? Gear your Nonprofit Annual Report towards foundations, individual donors, and other essential audiences. Your audience may include:

  • Donors or Members
  • Prospective donors or members
  • Sponsors
  • Grant Issuers
  • Partners
  • Advisers
  • Volunteers

2. What do you need to accomplish? Your report should document what your nonprofit has accomplished over the past year and what vision lies ahead for your organization.

PRO TIP: The ideal Nonprofit Annual Report is visually compelling and easy to read. It doesn’t have to be 20+ pages, but it should be have an emotional impact on your readers. Make it shareable. Imagine the power of your supporters sharing your report with their friends on social media!

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5 Points to Include in Your Nonprofit Annual Report:

1. A Clear Mission Statement

 Within one or two sentences, this powerful message tells the public the essence of your organization. What does your nonprofit do? How do they do it? This fundamental element should be at the beginning of your Nonprofit Annual Report because your supporters will be sharing it in social media.

2. A List of Accomplishments

 It’s okay to brag. Here’s your opportunity to talk about the projects you have initiated. From fundraisers to community programs, the majority of your Nonprofit Annual Report should focus on these metrics. Use infographics to make it more enjoyable for your readers.

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3. A Financial Statement

 Being transparent about your nonprofit organization will gain trust and attract new supporters. You don’t have to beat your financials to death – save that for the board meetings. Instead, streamline your nonprofit’s financial information. Let’s face it, numbers can be boring. The average person responds better to visuals over reading text, especially when it comes to numbers. Instead of copying and pasting your financials, consider illustrating your nonprofits’ revenue and expenses using pie charts.

4. A Thank You List

 In addition to showcasing your nonprofits’ success, properly thanking those people that help your organization is imperative. Don’t be afraid to spice up your report with some personal stories for an emotional impact. 

5. A Call to Action

 Finally, it’s time to get some net benefit from putting your annual report together. Tell your readers exactly what you need to keep getting results. Whether it’s more donations, more volunteers, or other support – ASK FOR IT!

 

In Summary

In conclusion, most Nonprofit Annual Reports contain similar elements no matter what cause they support. First, be concise with your nonprofit’s mission statement. Next, be transparent, but do it with visuals. Brag a little, but don’t forget to thank your supporters. Moreover, make it irresistible to share using fun graphics. And remember, you only get what you ask for!

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