Whether required by the charity regulator, the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) or not, every charity needs an annual report. We are not talking a basic word document or something put together internally. Every charity needs an annual report which is essentially a marketing document. A chance to fill people in on your charities story.
You can download a free e-book here with over 20 tips to produce an Annual Report which will greatly assist your charities marketing.
While increasingly charities and more broadly not-for-profits are required to produce an annual report, it is a mistake to think this is just about the financials. While important, the financial information in isolation does not give the actual story of the organisation. It also negates the fact that most people have limited capacity to read spreadsheets. They want the story – words, graphics and photos.
An annual report is a chance to tell the world about your charities achievements in the past year. It is an opportunity to talk about your charities plan for the coming year. Whether someone is going to use your services, buy your products, give their time, commit their funds, sponsor you, raise for you or partner with you – they need to see what you have achieved and how you are set up for the future.
Some of the things which are import to include in your charities annual report are:
- Demonstrate an understanding what has happened in the past year. Focus on some key highlights and report regularly against nominated key performance indicators.
- What have you done for your staff? What have they achieved? How are you going to retain and attract the best staff moving forward?
- What messages do you have on long term sustainability? How will you fund your charity into the future? How reliant will you remain on government funding?
- When you receive donations, does it all go into service provision, or do some go towards administration or investments? Where and how are any excess funds invested? What capital investments do you have?
- Have you collected information through those your charity interacts with to provide an insightful look at the need in the community? By talking about those you engage with, you emotionally draw in those who may be interested in connecting with you. Demonstrate your knowledge, leadership and a sense of knowing your audience.
Producing a professional looking annual report is a requirement for every charity, not because the government says so, but because it is a crucial document for delivering key messages about the organisation. The way the report looks will also have a real impact on the perception of the charity. Don’t try to cut corners on your annual report; it is not the place. Be prepared and give it a decent budget as well as a reasonable period to complete it.
We have put together a guide on how to produce a quality annual report for your charity. There are more than 20 tips inside and explanations on how to maximise its value.