4 Simple Tips to Designing an Annual Report that Informs and Inspires

A well-designed annual report should effectively showcase the accomplishments of your organization, how it is successfully realizing its mission and communicate its financials concisely and visually. It may sound easy but based on the plethora of staid, boring annual reports out there it can be tricky to pull off.

The key is choosing the right information and conveying it in a manner that appeals to the reader. Here are four tips for designing annual reports that inform and inspire.

Grab Attention by Focusing on Success Stories

Want to grab your readers’ attention? Then tell them stories about how you are making an impact. Readers love to read stories about how your work helped actual, real people. Stories allow readers to get pulled in emotionally to what you are doing.

Never forget that people tend to make decisions emotionally and justify them logically. You want to appeal to the emotional side of your reader – bombarding them with cold hard facts is not the best way to do that.

Use Plenty of Photos … And Captions

People are busy, and most will not read through your entire annual report, regardless of how good it is. In fact, many people will skim it. So how do you still convey your message?

A very effective way is to SHOW them the impact you’ve been making liberally using photos. Grab their attention with pictures and then tell your story with informative captions. The proper use of photos and captions can provide even a skimmer with a good sense of what you’ve been up to.

Show Your Data Visually

For most readers of annual reports, raw numbers and data are sterile and BORING. It makes readers’ eyes glaze over and shuts down their brain. The key is to show off your data in a visual manner, whether that be charts, diagrams or infographics.

Make it easy for readers to visualize the information and they will absorb it more easily.

Thank Your Donors!

While donors generally donate out of the goodness of their hearts, almost every single one would like to be thanked for their help. We all want to be appreciated and a donor who feels appreciation will be much more giving than one who feels taken for granted. Thanking donors in your annual report is ridiculously easy to do – simply create a “Thank You” page or pages and list donors at different donation amounts.

While there are many more ways to design an effective annual report, if you follow these four simple tips, you will be well on your way to creating an annual report that informs and inspires.

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