4 Examples of Effective Nonprofit Annual Reports

In an increasingly data dominated and impact driven world, annual reports are a crucial part of conveying an organization’s successes to potential donors and supporters. For the past several years, private companies like Mailchimp and Warby Parker have received praise for setting new standards in how information is presented to investors from a variety of backgrounds. This is done largely via effortless navigation and responsive layouts that showcase a brand’s personality.

Nonprofits also have an opportunity to lead the way in driving the design of these summaries. The time to create interactive online report is now if organizations want individuals and business partners to truly understand their impact and help bring the mission to life.

This week, we’re taking a look at several nonprofits that transformed their most recent yearly review into what some might deem an effective work of art.

  1. The Arthritis Foundation: Compelling graphics featuring high-level program stats take center stage in the Arthritis Foundation’s most recent report. The limited text format allows viewers to easily identify what made last year such a success for the organization. Brief snapshots of program participants, volunteers, and donors are dispersed throughout the “pages,” and the contributors don’t belabor the organization’s financial information – only the big picture figures are presented.
  2. Girls Who Code: Again, this report is highly scannable and interactive without being overwhelming for the user. In this case, exploring the most impressive details is a more manageable task than usual. The concise “Vision for 2016” statement at the end makes it easy for current stakeholders to recognize organizational priorities while attracting new donors and encouraging them to ask: how can I help you achieve these goals?
  3. Reality SF: Video, stand-alone infographics and crisp photos are just a few of the components that make this year’s Annual Vision & Prayer Report from Reality SF, a church based in San Francisco, one of the best out there so far. Additionally, the group manages to humanize their brand by highlighting board members through a simple thank you message, which features a collage of professional (yet inviting) headshots.
  4. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America: The latest BBBS report shines with the help of large photo displays and a table of contents, which make navigating a cinch. Creators of the annual recap also seem to understand that not every reader wishes to view the names of donors, creating a condensed version of the traditionally lengthy section.

For organizations looking to improve their report in order to generate support, industry thought leader Kivi Leroux Miller provides tips on what types of information should be included to attract donors and potential business partners.