An Annual Report is a document drafted by NGOs to disseminate the results of all the activities designed and developed in the past twelve months. This report is important for three main reasons:
- The reports gives the opportunity to share with your donors and the wider audience the achievements of your NGO
- The writing of the report enables the NGO members to critically engage with what has been done in order to set new goals and to develop new strategies for the future by drawing on past experience
- The report summarises what the NGO has been doing thus it becomes a way to archive your activities and to create a database, which could be accessed by old and new members of the NGO and contributing to the writing of the history of the NGO
A part from the archival character of this report, it is also important to consider that you can proactively engage with the writing of it as a way to further your fundraising activities. In fact, this report will give you the possibility to highlight major achievements of your NGO thus increasing its potential to secure more funding. In fact, once your report is done you can disseminate its contents through your website and public profiles to give visibility to your organisation.
In order to draft a successful report you should consider that:
- An excellent report is consistent, clear, and easy to read. Accordingly, you should start by creating a template that you will use to expand on each of the activities implemented. It is important to highlight: name of donors, the amount of money received, title of the project, rationale and main goals, methodology, activities implemented with their timeframe, and outputs. Disregarding the number of activities implemented, the final document shall not exceed a maximum of 10 pages. Remember that your goal is to produce a report that is easy to read thus brevity and clarity are here the key to success.
- Once the report is drafted and approved by all the members of the NGO, send it to your donors. They will appreciate your efforts in developing and strengthening your working relationship with them and also it will give them the opportunity to assess other activities implemented by your NGO, which might have been sponsored by other donors.
- Publish the report in the NGO website and all the other public profiles your NGO might have (including social network). Remember that all those who will visit your profiles will access this information to get to know your organisation. By reading about your achievements and strategies implemented by the organisation you will enable other members of the civil society to review your activities and, as such, you could attract new attention on your projects. Also, by disseminating your results you will make yourself known and be sure that new organisations will contact you to draft new project proposals together in the future thus expanding your fundraising potentials.
Overall, while drafting your annual report, remember that this is a longer version of a business card that you will send to potential donors in order to prove your abilities in developing successful project and attract funding.