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Writing Your Annual Report in 5 Easy Steps

Overwhelmed at the prospect of writing your nonprofit annual report? Relax! Follow these five basic steps and you’ll be on your way to creating an annual report that impresses your donors and supporters.

How to Write an Annual Report in 5 Easy Steps

1. Define Your Accomplishments:

What difference did you make? What has changed in your community or field as a result of your work over the last year? Take all of your activities over the last 12 months and convert them into three-to-five major accomplishments.

2. Interview Your Supporters:

Make a list of people who have great stories to tell about your accomplishments or who will share positive comments about your organization. Interview them and turn their words into personal profiles that help tell the story of your accomplishments and testimonial pull-quotes to sprinkle throughout your design.

3. Boil Down Your Financials:

Even if you choose to include your full financial statements (and you don’t have to, as long as you tell people how to get them), you should still include some graphics like pie charts and a few paragraphs of text to explain in plain English where you get your funding and how you spend it.

4. Compile Your Lists:

Your annual reports should always include the list of your board of directors and your executive staff. Most organizations also print a list of financial supporters. Depending on how many donors you have and the range in gift size, you may want to set a minimum donation level for inclusion in the annual report.

5. Put it All Together:

If you have the resources to produce a full-color, 20-page publication with lots of great photography, that’s great. But a much shorter and more modest 4-page newsletter format can work just as well.

You’ll find more resources and training on writing nonprofit annual reports here

Guest Author: Kivi Leroux Miller

Kivi provides training and personal coaching on all aspects of nonprofit marketing and communications to organizations big and small across the U.S. If you want to write newsletters and annual reports that your supporters will love or create websites and blogs that educate and inspire, visit www.NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, where you’ll find a free e-newsletter, articles, webinars, e-courses, and more.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2007 and has been revamped and updated. 

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