Managing Money With Mission

Nonprofit Annual Reports – Engaging and Informing

The development of a nonprofit’s annual report can be time consuming, laborious, and unfortunately sometimes even boring, but it doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be. In fact, the annual report could be used to make another connection with current donors while also informing potential donors and corporations about how their money would be used. Engaging your existing audience of current and potential donors while educating them about your current status is the best way to keep them interested in your charity. Here are a few ideas to make your annual reports something your recipients will look forward to reading.

Making Your Nonprofit Annual Report’s Data “Engaging”

Charts and graphics are powerful tools when implemented properly. Infographics with rich images of the people who are involved in promoting the mission of your organization, the projects your organization creates, and the communities you serve will be much more memorable than using stock photos. Infographics will offer deeper insights into your organization. That 10,000-word-essay your organization spends so much time writing and proofing? It isn’t needed anymore nor will it be read. You need to find a way to balance your report with relevant information while avoiding information overload. One way to achieve this is by breaking down the past year’s highlights into infographics that showcase your impact in a visually pleasing way.

Here is just one example:


DREAM, a youth development program in Harlem, turned their annual report into an image, an infographic-heavy publication. They not only made it easy to read and inviting, they made it interactive using a digital publication website called “ISSU”.

Tell Your “Story” in Your Nonprofit Annual Report

Another option, as seen with People for Bikes, is to make your annual report its own sub-page within your website.


In essence, they created a new but easy to manage website with user interactivity that retells their story of the past year noting milestones and projects. They have a separate tab for their financials. This is all executed as an infographic.

Your stories are what draw in potential donors and retain those who already donate to your organization. Intersperse the hard data in your annual report by listing who was served, how much money came in and went out, and how donations impacted the community served. Those who are searching for a philanthropic mission, a nonprofit they can trust, will look earnestly at your nonprofit when they have this information at their fingertips.

The Council of Nonprofits offers some great ideas for annual reports.

Numbers 4 Nonprofits is here to support you in managing your money with mission. Tell us your story and let’s see where we can help!

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