In the world of nonprofit organizations, you have two main focuses. Your cause is and should be the main focus. Finding money to help support your cause is the second and typically most difficult focus. One way you can improve your chances for grant applications, donor sourcing and community networking is to create an annual report. For many nonprofits hiring report, writers are the easiest way to handle this type of paperwork. If you are interested in going the solo route check out these basics on writing your annual report.
Everyone gets it, you need money to financially support your mission. However, when you are writing an annual report you don’t want to focus on finances. Your primary goal should be to sell your charitable concept, whether you are writing a report for a public library in need of children’s books or a rape crisis center searching for volunteers. Keep this front and center throughout your report, and make money matters short and sweet. Of course, you have to include these, but do it in a less obvious way.
An annual report should identify the many ways you used funding to support your nonprofit in the last 12 months. Show measurable results on behalf of that support. Avoid listing achievements, and instead point out how these achievements helped your nonprofit reach its goal, which leads back to your main mission, the focus point of your organization. This goes in line with the lists of your past donors. Sure it’s nice to show recognition for the support you’ve received. However, you also have to show how this support helped you meet goals for your nonprofit. Don’t just “Show me the money,” but show how that money benefited the greater good.
No one likes to look at page after page of numbers and blocks of text. Just because it’s an annual report you don’t have to make it so boring. Toss in some photos, preferably of your nonprofit in action. Add captions and give credit to those in your agency, making sure to get their A-OK before you do so. Along those same lines, include a few profiles of individuals who work, volunteer and are supported by your nonprofit organization. Make a heartfelt connection with the audience as a way to tug on their heartstrings.
Spell It Out
Now as you work with the financial sector of the annual report, give thoughtful explanations in lieu of the tables and charts. Explain why you need financial assistance, and how it will be used to directly benefit those in need. Include any information on how your organization saved money in the last year as a way to show your fastidiousness with finances. As a final note you can now ask for any financial assistance of the reader, which will be fully supported by your well rounded annual report.
Miranda B has been an advocate for nonprofits since her internships with the Haven Rape Crisis Center and Catholic Social Services, and later employment as a public librarian where annual reports were part of the process.