Who will lead the annual report project?
Identify a staff member who will lead the coordination of activities towards the development of the
annual report. Where there is one, we recommend
this should be led by a programs/project manager or
communications officer. In cases where these posts
do not exist, the Executive Director should take the
Which staff member, volunteer or board
member will contribute data and other information?
Staff members, volunteers or board members leading on different activities and with sufficient information on key successes achieved in the year should be
invited to contribute data. They should gather data
relating to projects that they have led in the year.
Tips on data to be gathered are available on page xx.
What is the objective for this annual report?
Why are you writing this annual report? Is it to show
your impact? Inspire more action on the part of your
stakeholders? Sustain old and attract new donors?
As part of regulatory or donor requirement? Or to
thank your donors and board members? Whatever the objective is, note that an annual report is an
important accountability, transparency and communications tool for showing impact and value!
Who are your audience for the annual report? Are
they your board, donors, beneficiaries, regulators,
nonprofit networks and coalitions, corporate sponsors, individual donors, general public etc. Knowing
who your audience is will shape what kind of information you provide and how this is framed in your
How will the annual report reach your
Do you know the most effective distribution or communication channel for sending your annual report
to your audience? While it is a standard practice
to publish your annual report online and to send
via email it is worth considering other channels like
having hard copies of the report delivered to your
audience by mail services using courier or regular
post. Postcard notification with link to the online
version is also another means.
What data should be gathered and included
in an annual report?
Consider gathering data that includes the following:
What will be the content of your annual
- 3 major achievements for each of your activities
in the year. Gather success stories from staff and
volunteers involved directly.
- Did your staff or volunteers grow, if yes mention
and show their impact.
- If you organised events, how many people
attended your event?
- Number of people that benefited from your
services. For example, if you provide support
to widows, how many were supported in the
year? If you train young people, how many werePage-48
trained? How many were male and female?
What is their age?
- Profile of your beneficiaries
- Which parts of the state or country did your
beneficiaries come from? What is their number
per area, local government, senatorial district,
- If you are a membership based organisation
how many members do you have? Is your
membership growing? What is their geographical
- If you have a social media page, you may want to
tell your audience how many followers you have,
impressions and engagements made in the year.
- How many people visited your website, how
many page views? (if you have one)
- Number of times publications were downloaded
on your website
- Number of organisations or individuals receiving
your newsletter (if you publish one)
- How much did you raise from your friends,
family, donors, etc to organise or carry out your
activities in the year?
- What is your annual budget, income and
expenditure for the year?
- Sources of funding: individual donor, grants,
consultancies, government, corporate
- Case studies where applicable.
We recommend including the following contents
In what format will the report be produced?
- Message from the Board Chair, Founder or
- Executive Director’s message
- List of board members including Executive
Director’s name and affiliations
- Vision and mission, history or timeline series.
- Programmes or projects implemented in the
year- Analysis of data captured will assist in
developing quick highlights and results.
- Major accomplishments in the year—usually
highlighted through stories or case studies
- Awards, grants, donations and in-kind support
- Financial statement (audited accounts or income
and expenditure accounts)
- Acknowledgement of major supporters, donors,
corporate sponsors etc.
Will the report be printed in hard copies or only
made available online? This is subject to your budget.
The following formats may be considered:
- Digital or online
- Printed piece
- Or a combination of both digital and print piece
- Or a combination of all.
Whatever design is chosen, please bear in mind that
a digital or online version is important and must be
publicly available on your website or social media
page for ease of reference and accessibility by your
What is your budget?
Typically costs associated with an annual report will
be incurred during the graphics design stage and distribution phase. Other activities require in most cases
staff or volunteer time. Your budget will include the
- Graphics designer fee
- Printing services
- Photograph staging (if you do not have print
ready photographs) or purchase of stock
- Editorial fees (if you want your report to be
edited, spelt checked and proof read by a
- Distribution: courier/postage
- Emphasise your impact and include highlights
rather an exhaustive list
- Keep it simple and verifiable
- Play with numbers
- Include pictures and graphics as this will keep
your readers engaged
- Spell check and proofread
- Ensure message and letters from the
organisation’s leaders reflect why the
organisation is successful including highlighting
growth and future projections.
- Start creating the annual report immediately your
yearly financial audit has been commissioned in
order to meet regulatory reporting deadlines.
- Focus on your financial information as this is one
of the most important data to be captured by an