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Data Visualization

How to Create an Annual Report for a Nonprofit Organization

  • By Dennis McMahon
  • July 30, 2023
How to Create an Annual Report for a Nonprofit Organization

Creating an annual report for a nonprofit can seem intimidating, but with the right preparation and planning, it can be a stress-free process. An annual report effectively communicates a nonprofit’s achievements over the past year and its goals moving forward. It is an opportunity to thank donors, volunteers, and staff and to showcase the impact of the organization’s work.



The Benefits of an Annual Nonprofit Report

A nonprofit annual report provides several benefits to the organization and its stakeholders.

  • It helps to build trust with donors and volunteers. A comprehensive and informative annual report helps to demonstrate to donors and volunteers that the organization is using its resources responsibly and is dedicated to its mission. It also helps to foster a sense of pride in the organization among its stakeholders.
  • It can be used to attract new donors and volunteers. A well-crafted annual report can be an effective marketing tool for nonprofit organizations. It can showcase the organization’s successes and highlight its impact on the community. This is a powerful way to attract new donors and volunteers to the organization.
  • It helps to ensure financial transparency. Nonprofit organizations must provide financial information in their annual report, which demonstrates that the organization is a steward of their monetary resources.


Flat isometric design of data analysis concept

Steps for Creating an Effective Annual Report

Step 1: Gather Data

The first step in creating an annual report for a nonprofit is to gather data from the previous year. The data should show the impact and successes of the previous year, demonstrating how the organization has affected the most meaningful change. This data should include information such as the financial status of the organization, the number of volunteers, members, and programs, and weave testimonials from those who have benefited from the organization.

Step 2: Organize the Data

Once the data has been gathered, it should be organized logically. This will help make the report easier to read and understand. The data should be organized into categories such as financials, volunteers, programs, results, and members. Each category should contain a data summary along with relevant graphs or charts.

Step 3: Draft the Report

Once the data is organized, it is time to draft the report. The report should begin with an introduction that outlines the report’s purpose and provides an overview of the organization. This should be followed by the data organized in the previous step. The report should conclude with any additional information that may be relevant, such as plans or projects to get people excited about what’s to come.

Step 4: Review and Edit

Once the draft of the report is complete, it should be reviewed and edited for accuracy and clarity. This includes checking for any typos or mistakes and ensuring all the data is presented in an easy-to-understand format.

Step 5: Finalize and Publish

The final step in creating an annual report for a nonprofit is to finalize and publish the report. It involves formatting the report to ensure it is visually appealing, printing it or publishing it online, and distributing it to stakeholders. It can be money well spent to partner with a professional designer or marketing agency to ensure that you’re delivering the highest quality piece possible for the greatest social impact.

Top 5 Tips for Effective Annual Reports

Keep these five tips in mind as you organize your organization’s annual report.

    1. Emphasize Your Organization’s Purpose
    2. Include a Letter From the CEO or Board Chair at All Times
    3. Review the Year’s Most Notable Accomplishments
    4. Make Your Organization’s Finances Open to the Public
    5. Thank Your Donors

Avoiding the Most Frequent Errors in Annual Nonprofit Reports

To keep you from getting trapped, use this handy checklist.

  • Avoid Writing “by Committee”
  • Make Sure Your Sentences Aren’t Wordy
  • Think Your Organization Holistically
  • Respect the Report’s Potential
  • Create a Table of Contents
  • Engage a Professional

At HyFyve, we have the experience to create an effective and engaging annual report for your nonprofit organization. Our team can help you develop a report that accurately reflects your mission. Contact us today for more information.


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