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Annual Reports: To Do or Not to Do?

November 15, 2018

Does your organization do an annual report? There are many reasons to do an annual report and also many ways to do it. The important thing is to know why you are doing it because it does take time and effort so it should be something that is strategically leveraged among your stakeholder groups and put to good use.

Some of the reasons to do an annual report include:

  • Shows the impact your organization has in a community
  • Makes the case for donations
  • Thanks staff, volunteers, members, supporters, and partners
  • Highlights the annual accomplishments in one place
  • Serves as a good communication tool when advocating for your organization in the community and with local, county, and state elected officials (see the Cultural Advocacy Coalition for more information on advocacy)
  • Emphasizes transparency of your organization and builds trust with the community you serve

Some of the information to consider including in your annual report:

  • Mission Statement and any organization vision statement
  • Goals achieved and steps taken to achieve them
  • A letter from the Director or Board President
  • A list of board members and staff
  • A list of members
  • Visitor numbers and various levels of breaking that information down such as geographic reach

  • Financial information such as a breakdown of how money was spent and the different types of revenue that was generated
  • Highlight a successful project and/or partnership
  • Highlight 2-5 accomplishments
  • Include any awards the organization received
  • Feature a volunteer of the year
  • Tell the story of a community member’s engagement with the organization
  • Number of volunteers and total number of volunteer hours

There are a variety of ways to do an annual report depending on time, money, technology, and capacity of the organization. Here are some formats organizations can use to report to stakeholders the accomplishments of the organization:

For more information, check out these resources:

If your organization does an annual report, feel free to tell us about it in the comments and include a link if it is available online so others can check it out!

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