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Writing a Nonprofit Annual Report

By Kivi Leroux Miller

If you've been asked to write an annual report for a nonprofit organization, here are seven tips to get you on your way.

1. ... We want to know what you did, but more importantly, we want to know why you did it. What were the results? Why did you spend your time the way you did? What difference did it make?

2. . Getting a high-speed connection in the office and new accounting software may be big accomplishments from where you sit at your desk, but they have nothing to do with your mission. Inspire donors with accomplishments related to your mission in your annual report and leave all the administrative items for your board report.

3. . Yes, photos really are worth a thousand words. Many of the people reading your annual report won't actually read it. Show them what you've been doing with photos. If you don't have a digital camera, get one now, as basic models are very inexpensive. It's also fine to use stock photography to illustrate your work.

4. .. Now that you've got them looking at the photos, tell a story with your captions. Don't just state what's in the photo. Connect the photo to an accomplishment. If people read nothing but the captions in your annual report, they should still get a sense for the good work you did last year.

5. ... Many of your donors won't know how to read a financial statement or won't take the time to read it. Include a paragraph or two that explains in plain English what the tables say. Where does your money come from and how do you spend it?

6. . There's no better way to sabotage a future donation than to spell the donor's name wrong in your annual report.

7. .. Never leave a potential supporter hanging, wondering how they can help you. Once you've inspired them with the good works in your annual report, close by telling them how they can help you do more. How can they support you with their money or time? Do you offer planned giving options, for example? Will you accept gifts of stock? Can they use a credit card? Be clear about the best ways to help.

The headings:

a. Get rid of the administrative details.

b. Include photos.

c. Tell donors how they can help.

d. Focus on accomplishments, not activities.

e. Triple-check your donor lists.

f. Write captions that tell your story.

g. Explain your financials.




Key Concepts

public limited company (plc) a large business in the UK with the minimum share capital of £50,000 where public can buy and sell shares on the stock exchange
Sole Trader or Sole Proprietor (UK) the simplest way of starting a business, when you are self-employed and entirely responsible for all aspects of the management of your business
Partnership (UK) a way of starting a business when two or more people share profits and losses and all risks of running a business between them with unlimited responsibility
Private Limited Company (UK) a way of starting a business with two or more shareholders who appoint a director and a company secretary, when the responsibility of each shareholder is limited to the amount that they have contributed
company secretary a person whose job within a company is to keep the legal affairs, accounts, and administration in order
limited liability responsibility (e.g. of a stockholder ) limited by statute or treaty
incorporated (US), Inc, Corp registered with the authorities in the state where the company has its headquarters



Date: 2015-12-17; view: 573

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