The quick guide to a good annual report May 28, 2015, 11:09 a.m.

The quick guide to a good annual report

Summary :

It's that time of the year where many of you must be starting to think about getting your 2014-15 Annual Report together. So, we thought it would be useful to go through some important things to keep in mind while making your annual report.
Mine's bigger!
So if you're thinking that a big fat annual report sends a message to a donor that you have been doing lots of work in the last year, think again. No one likes to read a big fat annual report that drones on about every little thing the organisation did. So when you are planning your annual report, first think about number of pages and size. Ideally, all annual reports should be less than 12 pages!
Forget Activities; Think Accomplishments
The single most important thing to know about an annual report is that it is not a listing of your activities. It’s a summary of what you accomplished by doing those activities.
Start putting together your annual report by putting down recent achievements. What three things are you most proud of from last year? If you had only five minutes to tell someone about all of your great work, what would you emphasise? Your annual report should flow from the answers to these questions. Leave out discussions about the administrative and internal workings of your organisation.
Picture this!
When choosing photographs it should be a) good quality - not blurred b) project your work and impact.
Good quality photographs, these days aren't really a problem. However when including photographs, make sure they project the services the organisation offers, or even better, the impact or outcome of the work you do. Imagine three scenarios - 
1. Man who has lost a limb sitting
2. Man who has lost a limb with a Staff getting a mobility aid fitted
3. Man with disability with a mobility aid fitted working/ playing
What do you think would make a bigger impact?
The big, quick checklist
Organisational Information:
  • Name, registration date/ number (as applicable to various Acts), registered address and address for communication
  • Names and addresses of the governing body members with office bearers and area of skill/ expertise
  • Legal registration details
  • Summary of the history and purpose for which your organisation was established
Programme Information:
  • Objectives and summary of the main programmes and activities undertaken during the year
  • Summary of the way the agency operates – number and type of staff, network/ linkages with other agencies, etc.
  • Statistics of performance/ coverage
  • Highlights of the year
  • Good action photographs (including 1 – 2 photos of the staff)
  • Information on major changes or new activities and justification
  • Major plans for the future
Financial Information:
  • Audited reports and their graphical presentation
  • Information of the previous year's accounts
  • Percentages for amounts (will help in better understanding)
Other Information you can include:
  • Case studies/ success stories/ testimonials on how your organisation’s presence and work made a difference to an individual, family or community
  • Comments (3-5) from your visitors’ book
  • Quotes, preferably from beneficiaries
  • Best practices (innovative, successful and replicable methods in your programmes)
  • Photocopies of press cuttings on your organisation
  • Awards and recognition (if any)
  • Staff achievements
Three must-includes:
  • Thank you (to your donors, supporters, who you must send your annual report to!)
  • A geographical map/ Instructions on how to visit you
  • An appeal