Tips for writing an annual report
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Every registered charity has to put together their Annual Report and Accounts to be submitted to the Charity Commission. But it is much more than this. Rather than a chore that serves nothing but a legal purpose, an annual report is an opportunity to showcase your successes and achievements over the past year in one document. It can work to demonstrate your impact and value to a wide range of audiences.
Before you start Think about these key areas before starting your report. Identify your audiences On one level, your annual report is a legal requirement; it has to be submitted to the Charity Commission each year so they are your primary audience. At another level, your annual report is an opportunity to position your organisation and influence a range of other audiences such as funders, MPs, supporters and service users.
Think carefully about the content and style of your report and how it communicates to different audiences. Would an online version with interactive elements such as links to videos or images appeal to your audience? This is best kept at the back of your report, or in a separate, accompanying document.
Consider how the report fits into and promotes the strategic objectives of your organisations for example how can it demonstrate your impact, value for money or pioneering partnerships. There are many different options. Give your report a theme here narrative Think about giving your report a name that reflects your organisation and its ambitions.
They then include their accounts in a separate, supplementary document. Having a strong theme and narrative running through the report can help to make it engaging and lift it beyond a bog-standard document. It can also ensure it appeals to a broader audience.
Think about having a report year in numbers' page to highlight key achievements over the past year in a bite-size way. Write captions that tell your story. Discuss the diversity of your membership. At the convention, attend all of your sessions so you can take note of the demographic information of speakers, moderators, discussants, etc. The third draft will tidy it up, ideally without smothering the vibrancy of the writing. Meshanko, President, ERC ERC Newsbriefs Excerpt, September 30, The purpose of an annual report is to show your current donors and future donor prospects how you use the money which they have invested or will invest in your agency. But your donors will be much more likely to remember those three accomplishments when they tell their friends about you later.
The theme should be reflected in the headings to each section, and most importantly in the design and feel of the report. Effective design and alternative formats It is worth investing in good design reeport your annual report — it will make all the different and give it impact.
If you don't have the skills in-house, approach design agencies who specialise in putting repogt annual reports for charities. What to include in each section Step-by-step guide to key elements of any annual report. Introduction and executive summary You should start with an introduction to the report by the Chair of This web page and Chief Executive.
Think about different ways of for the introductions. Your objectives What does your charity do and why?
- Criticising government policy in a column in the Financial Times needs a certain degree of logic and rhetoric.
- What are your primary fundraising strategies?
- What rules can you follow if you actually want to say something, to convey a message, to change minds or inspire action?
Think about both the overall objective of the organisation but also specific objectives for the past year. Your achievements Here you should include the key achievements over the year, measured against the objectives you set.
One of the ways to get around writig issue of reports quicly becoming outdated is to focus on outcomes and not outputs. What are you actively doing to improve research in your division? But your donors will be much more likely to remember those three accomplishments when they tell their friends about you later. Place vital statistics about all your programs in a box: Include a paragraph or two that explains in plain English what the tables say.
This might include new contracts, campaigning and fundraising successes, positive media coverage, speaking opportunities, conferences, reaching new audiences, increase in volunteers etc. Again, look beyond the printed document and think about having some of the case studies available as short videos on your website or YouTube channel.
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You might also link to some of the service user led features on your website if you have them — blogs, vox pops, or newsletter. Impact and value Demonstrating the impact and value learn more here your services is crucial.
It is this part of your report that can really set your charity apart and help demonstrate to funders, supporters and all potential supporters the value of the work you do. Every claim you make about impact must be backed up by evidence. For example, the statement: Do you have good quality photos of the service users you can use?
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Think about how these can be brought to life. Could you record short videos of service users talking about their experiences that could go wriging your website? Could the extracts in the annual report be linked to an online blog? For more information about measuring impact, see the section on impact and evaluation.
Volunteers As with erport users, think about how you can include the voices of volunteers in your report. Perhaps you could link to a volunteers section on your website that includes some short videos of volunteers talking about their experience of working with your organisation. What are the challenges that lie ahead and how will you overcome them? What opportunities and milestones are there in the year ahead that you want to make the most of? This final section should be ambitious and forward-thinking, but realistic.
When presenting the information, use graphs and diagrams where possible so they are easy to interpret.
Could you record short videos of service users talking about their experiences that could go on your website? Recognize the other projects in other ways, such as on your website or in your newsletter. There are many benefits to producing a digital report - it is far cheaper. We all have too much to read as it is. Now compare the subjects: WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR ANNUAL REPORT?