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Your annual report speaks volumes about your attitude towards accountability and transparency. Use the opportunity to showcase your successes and achievements over the past year. Demonstrate the impact and value of your work with statistics. The NCVO have a great guide on producing annual reports so we thought we’d put some of their key points into context with some interesting examples.

Know Your Audience

annual reports that make an impact

Just as you would target your communications, target your annual reports. For a number of years, Cancer Research UK have produced multiple reports. In previous years, they’ve published a brief Highlights document. This year they have a dedicated Our Year 2016/17 section on their website. There’s then a more in depth Annual Review with highlights, case studies, testimonials and their year in numbers. Finally they have their full Annual Report: We are Beating Cancer, a comprehensive 78 page document containing the trustee’s report and financial statements and their Annual Review. Each differing in depth of content and tone of voice, it enables CRUK to be accountable yet accessible to all its supporters.

Know What You Want To Say

Consider how your report can fit into and promote your strategic objectives and use it to show supporters what you’re really capable of. RNLI‘s most recent report, One Courageous Community, wanted to highlight the impact of its communities and how their coming together saves lives. They used creative visuals and emotive content framed by statistics, telling stories, providing context and giving supporters an engaging experience. An in-depth break down of finance, facts and figures is included at the end. The report received special mention at that year’s Third Sector Awards.

Real Causes, Real Lives

The right case studies can add personality and a human element to your annual reports. Keech Hospice Care, winner of their own Third Sector Award, wanted to challenge perceptions and the way its supporters viewed the role of hospices. Their 2014/15 report Hospice Full of Life was full of patient stories and testimonials to inject optimism and positivity, showing that “they’re not simply places where you go to die but are full of life”. The forward was written, not by the chief executive, but by a 10 year old hospice patient. Their positive use of case studies along with art direction and choice of content and really gets their intentions across. The report is accessible and engaging while maintaining their accountability.

Your Thoughts

With this year’s Third Sector Awards shortlist just released, we’d love to know what you make of the 2017 hopefuls. What catches your eye? Are there any takeaways you could apply to your content strategy in general? We’d love to know your thoughts so get in touch, we’re always up for a chat about all things content and strategy.

About the Author:

Alex is a Digital Content Coordinator at Copper
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