Nonprofit Operational Manual

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Annual Reporting

Who will lead the annual report project? Identify a staff member who will lead the coordination of activities towards the development of the annual report. Where there is one, we recommend this should be led by a programs/project manager or communications officer. In cases where these posts do not exist, the Executive Director should take the lead.

Which staff member, volunteer or board member will contribute data and other information?
Staff members, volunteers or board members leading on different activities and with sufficient information on key successes achieved in the year should be invited to contribute data. They should gather data relating to projects that they have led in the year. Tips on data to be gathered are available on page xx.

What is the objective for this annual report?
Why are you writing this annual report? Is it to show your impact? Inspire more action on the part of your stakeholders? Sustain old and attract new donors? As part of regulatory or donor requirement? Or to thank your donors and board members? Whatever the objective is, note that an annual report is an important accountability, transparency and communications tool for showing impact and value!

Your Audience
Who are your audience for the annual report? Are they your board, donors, beneficiaries, regulators, nonprofit networks and coalitions, corporate sponsors, individual donors, general public etc. Knowing who your audience is will shape what kind of information you provide and how this is framed in your annual report.

How will the annual report reach your audience?
Do you know the most effective distribution or communication channel for sending your annual report to your audience? While it is a standard practice to publish your annual report online and to send via email it is worth considering other channels like having hard copies of the report delivered to your audience by mail services using courier or regular post. Postcard notification with link to the online version is also another means.

What data should be gathered and included in an annual report?
Consider gathering data that includes the following:

What will be the content of your annual report?
We recommend including the following contents amongst others:

In what format will the report be produced?
Will the report be printed in hard copies or only made available online? This is subject to your budget. The following formats may be considered:
Whatever design is chosen, please bear in mind that a digital or online version is important and must be publicly available on your website or social media page for ease of reference and accessibility by your audience.

What is your budget?
Typically costs associated with an annual report will be incurred during the graphics design stage and distribution phase. Other activities require in most cases staff or volunteer time. Your budget will include the following:

Remember to: