Your Mission Statement should be your main Talking Point
What is your mission statement? If you can't answer that question, you may need to take a step back and get that squared away before you attempt to draft an effective annual report for your non-profit organization. If you can recite your mission statement forwards and backwards, you have a great launch point to begin your annual report as well as a topic that you can point back to throughout the report. All of your results and reporting should point back to and reinforce your mission statement. What is the change you are attempting to affect through your non-profit organization? That should be the emphasis of your annual report. Donors will want to know that you are using their funding to further the cause that you said you would. You don't have to change the world overnight, its impossible, but you should be taking steps toward making the world a better place by living out your mission statement.
Utilize Visual Aids
In order to break up the text, you can utilize strategies like the blog post, in that it uses different headings and titles to break up paragraphs. While this is a great strategy, you should also utilize visual aids to break up the text along with emphasizing the results you have accomplished. The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" rings true here. You can write and talk all day long about how great your Ohio non-profit organization is, but if you can show a picture of a child that you helped or an animal that you saved, or whatever your cause is, these pictures can do wonders for you annual report. The annual report is an excuse for you to brag on yourself for the things you have accomplished, and what better way to convey that than actually showing what you have accomplished.
Along with pictures you can also use other visual aids like infographics that showcase both images and information, quotes from people you have helped or donors that believe in your cause, and even illustrations that convey your message and mission statement. Anything you can add to your report that breaks up the text roughly every paragraph or every other paragraph will help ensure that it is easily read and digested by donors and future donors alike.
Don't overcomplicate the Financials
A great example of a well executed annual report, keeping the financials simple and easy to read, is the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland Ohio. Of course we are pleased to highlight an Ohio based company, but they have made their mark on the country in regards to running a non-profit and providing donors with an annual report. They break down their financials into two easy to read charts on just two pages of the report. It is not necessary to line item your entire accounting details for the year, but rather you should condense the financials down to easy to read charts or graphs that convey your financial situation while pointing back to your mission statement as well. You can check out the entire Cleveland Boys and Girls Club's annual report by clicking here.
Thank your Supporters
Your Ohio non-profit annual report is a great avenue for you to emphasize your accomplishments but also a nice platform for you to thank your supporters. When you are reading a publication that has something to do with you or your job, how excited are you when you come across your name or your own picture? If you are balking at this idea, you are likely lying to yourself a little bit. We all get excited, or at a minimum, take notice when we are mentioned in whether verbally, in written form, or in a visual format. It's just human nature, we are all a little selfish! When you can highlight your supporters, it makes them feel special, and it also shows them exactly where their hard earned money is going. We all want to know that our donations are actually helping others, and through your annual report you can thank your supporters and show them how their funds are being utilized at the same time!
Don't be Afraid to Ask for More
You have supporters of your Ohio non-profit reading your annual report, and you have potential donors attention that got your report in their hands somehow, so wouldn't this be a great opportunity to ask for funding? Some non-profits in Ohio don't utilize their annual report to it's full extent by not asking for funding. You don't have to ask your supporters to double their donations, but if you have a specific initiative going into the next year, it is a great platform to explain the initiative and ask for help. You already have their attention, now take the time to explain where your non-profit currently is and where you want to take it this next year. When you can show supporters your accomplishments, they are more likely to help you fund other projects, that they feel you can deliver on. Don't miss this opportunity to grow your non-profit!
How can we Help?
If you have questions regarding your non-profit organization in Ohio, don't hesitate to contact us today! We have a passion for and has been active with non-profit organizations for the past 10 years. We are currently active with multiple non profit organizations in Ohio, by serving on boards, fundraising, and also acting as insurance advisor and counselor. We are insurance experts that also understand your non-profit organization!