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Annual Report: Unleash the Fundraising Tool & Unlock the Impact
Philanthropic Trends

Many nonprofits are ending the fiscal year at the end of December, and are crafting their annual report. These reports are vital to sharing the impact your nonprofit has had in past, what it is currently focusing on; and its future plans. These reports must be engaging, convey excitement, express gratitude and most importantly, call the reader to action. As your team sits down to plan your organization’s annual report, ask yourself two important questions:

  1. Who is the audience? and
  2. What does this report need to accomplish?


These are some critical elements that should be top-of-mind during your annual report planning:

  • Vision
  • Impact Stories & Statistics
  • Financials
  • Gratitude
  • Call to Action

Your team has planned the annual report elements, written the report and has prepared it for production.


Now what?


This year, your team should incorporate one or two of these communications strategies to elevate your organization’s impact. Some of these ideas may help you forge new relationships.

  1. Annual Report Web Landing Page– Set up a landing page with a shortened URL that you can incorporate into all your communications. This will allow you to track metrics this year as you test-drive some new strategies and you can compare them to next year’s communications. Examples might include: or  Check out Directions for Youth & Families great impact landing page.
  2. Snackable Social Content – Create small bites of important content from your annual report that can be shared with your social media audiences. Use visual infographics, messages of gratitude and calls to action. Spreading the content over a longer period of time and posting multiple times helps the various messages resonant with your audience.
  3. Stakeholder Gatherings – Invite Board members to host a gathering at their home or office, and invite friends, colleagues, family and new supporters. At the gathering, share three key messages of impact from your annual report. Keep it upbeat and short so that people walk away remembering these three main points, and may even share with a friend. Involving your Board members is one way to get outside of your typical circle of friends. Lakeside Chautauqua is one example that uses stakeholder gatherings as a strategy. Check out their announcement landing page.
  4. Shareable E-Newsletter & Digital Format – Boiling your annual report down to an engaging e-newsletter or a one-page report allows your stakeholders to share your organization’s impact with friends and family via email. Humane Society of Greater Dayton shares their impact in a one-page engaging report. Set up a challenge for your stakeholders and invite them to share the e-newsletter with as many friends and families as possible. It creates a little fun and a viral ripple effect for your organization.
  5. One-on-Three Meetings – Most of your Board members have a tremendous reach in the community. Invite them to schedule a lunch meeting with colleagues so they can introduce the CEO/Executive Director or Development Director to new supporters. At the meeting Board members can share their enthusiasm about the organization and why they believe in the mission. At the end of the lunch, leave everyone with a short one-page sheet about how to get involved. Individuals want to join in the enthusiasm and this gives your Board members an opportunity to share their passion.


Selecting one or two new strategies this year and measuring the success helps your team elevate the impact your organization has on the greater community. Once you have completed the new strategy, pull your team together and evaluate what did and did not work. Document the successes and the opportunities and incorporate these into next year’s plan.

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