How to Write Content for your Annual Report

 Annual Report Design for Nonprofits

Hey nonprofit friends! It's about to be your season: end of year campaigns, fundraising dinners, auctions. Let's do this!

An effective annual report can encourage and celebrate your current donors and become one of your biggest fundraising tools. 

 Kula Project Annual Report

Most annual reports don’t go out until February or March after all the financial information is in. (It depends on your fiscal year.) You’re already ahead of the game just reading this article! BUT. If you're like me, by the time January rolls around, you’ll be ready to work on what’s next, not what’s happened.

Set aside some time now to write the bulk of your content. Your first step to tackling this beast is to write your content outline. Use the following annual report outline as a guide. Don’t worry too much about page order now. Focus on gathering up all this info in one place.

 Kula Project Annual Report Case Study

DIY Annual Report Outline:

Front cover:

  • Organization name / logo
  • 2016 annual report
  • Optional: a short statement or tagline, perhaps from your end of year campaign. Ex: Kula Project’s “Invest in a family. Empower a Community.”  

What you do:

  • A short statement about what you do. Ex: “Paint Love brings transformational art workshops to Atlanta area youth who face or are at risk of facing poverty or trauma.”

Mission and Vision

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement

Letter from the executive director or founder:

  • A short opening letter to the annual report. You could reflect on the past year or what it was like just starting compared to how your organization runs now.  

Your model and programs:

  • You can do a separate page for each program or one page that outlines your model.

Case Studies:

  • Gather at least three case studies from your different audiences. Maybe it’s one from a donor, one from a volunteer and one from the group you’re trying to help. This will give the reader a good idea of how your programs impact your community in a personal way. These qualitative stories give us number resistant folks a break from the data.

What you’ve accomplished:

  • This is a great time for an infographic!

Year to Year Growth:

  • Showing growth from year to year is an excellent way to showcase momentum.

Operations Highlight:

  • Team members
  • Your office or studio
  • Board members

Financial Information:

  • Total raised for the past year
  • How much you spent
  • General breakdown of where the money went: programs, operations, salaries, etc.

Call to Action

  • This page should highlight what the reader can do now to join your cause. Popular options include, share on social media, sign up to volunteer, purchase a product, or make a donation.

Closeout Statement:

  • This is a good time to leave readers with that warm and fuzzy feeling! Kula Project’s closeout statement, “96% of our farmers will use their income for education,” highlights the power of investing in families and what impact that will make on future generations.

Back Cover:

  • Website
  • Contact Information

Once your content is mostly together, it is time to contact a designer. The end of the year can be quite a rush for designers too, so we recommend getting in touch sooner rather than later. ;)

We love annual reports 'round here and would be happy to help you with planning and/or design. You can get more info on annual report design by contacting us!

View the Kula Project's Annual Report Case Study here.
2nd and 3rd photo by Angie Webb.