The often-frenetic pace of not-for-profit work means writing and producing your annual report can sit on the back-burner as mission-related efforts take precedence.
But it’s crucial to put adequate resources and time into your annual report. It is a great opportunity to tell your story and convey your strategy to prospective donors, government officials, and potential partners.
These four questions can guide you to success when it’s time to write:
1. Who are you? Be loud and proud about your mission. If your mission statement is tired or unclear, craft a new one. This is your chance to tell your donors—both current and potential—why you exist.
Tip: Your report might be digital. Would a video work better? If so, production quality is key.
2. What did you accomplish? Explain your organization’s impact this year. Highlight your successes and be open about any failures, particularly those that were pandemic related.
Tip: Use infographics to show the connection between donors and their impact. Put donors in the picture and use personal language: “Your generous support helped X number of people, animals, virtual performances, etc. We couldn’t do it without you.”
3. Who made it happen? This is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge and thank your major donors, key patrons, and board members. But don’t forget your volunteers. Take time to highlight those who have not only gone above and beyond in terms of support, but also those who help you achieve your day-to-day goals.
Tip: Pictures really do say a thousand words. Showing people’s faces—yes, even if masked!—is a good way to honor them.
4. What does it take? This section includes your financial information and should show donors that you have been responsible with their gifts. This section might include the same reporting from your Form 990 but be wrapped in a compelling narrative that gives context to the numbers.
Donors like to know how you’re making the best use of their money. Rather than relying only on numbers and tables, write an accompanying narrative that explains your strategies for maximizing the impact of your fundraising. Explain how those efforts compare favorably to what you’ve done in the past and benchmarks in your sector. Donors appreciate openness and transparency, as well as improvements. If your organization has implemented cost-saving measures that achieve equal results or are allocating more resources for an even bigger impact, say so.
Dembo Jones’ not-for-profit team has the expertise to ensure the disciplined financial management of your organization, including presenting clear, concise information to stakeholders. Whether you’re incorporating a not-for-profit entity or are managing a well-established organization, working with an experienced advisor can offer you piece-of-mind that allows to you zealously pursue your mission from a stable financial position. Contact us today.