Your annual report should be an offer no one can refuse

Once a year, in your annual report, your nonprofit gets a great opportunity to sell itself and its cause.

In showcasing who you are, what you do and how you improve lives, your annual report can inspire people to support and be part of your work.

Yet instead of highlighting the crucial difference they make, nonprofits too often use their annual report simply to stroke themselves and their supporters.

In accentuating the positive, annual reports also tend to skirt or soft-pedal the often grim reality facing the people and places they serve.

And as if nonprofits needed to justify their work, they often clutter their annual reports with a barrage of data and technical jargon, along with numbingly academic explanations of the problems they address and the “logic model” behind the services they deliver.

Your annual report of course should recognize your leaders and accomplishments.

But its main purpose should be to raise awareness about the needs you address, and your impact, through words, data and images that are clear and easy to understand.

It also should help readers see why getting involved with your organization will improve your community while advancing the causes they care about.

Your annual report should be an invitation everyone wants to accept.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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