March has arrived, and with it annual report season for many Canadian charities and nonprofits. Many non-profit communicators and fundraisers I've spoken with are interested in alternative formats for their annual report this year, with good reason.
Annual reports can take a great deal of time, effort and money to plan, write, produce, and distribute. And how many people actually read your masterpiece from cover to cover after all that effort? So who wouldn't want to consider new, briefer formats? From postcard reports to video annual reports, there are quite a few options to consider.
Yet the traditional annual report has been around for a while - also with good reason. Good donor retention efforts can make such a financial difference for fundraising organizations. And good communication is essential for donor retention. According to the Agitator, 53% of the reasons donors give for stopping their support are because the organization failed to properly communicate in some way or another.
Hmmm . . . suddenly investing in your main donor report for the year doesn't seem like such a waste.
For me, the bottom line is that a good annual report is essential and you shouldn't skimp on it. But you should take advantage of some of the different media, formats and communication tools available to make it as powerful and wide-reaching as it can be. This may mean using a combination of formats.
The video at the top of this post is from a January 24 event I co-hosted with For the Record Productions. Check their blog for tips on nonprofit video in particular. The trends in annual report formats that I spoke about in the video are from Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Marketing Guide.