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Isn't It Time We Gave Our Annual Reports a Face Lift?

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

For marketing campaigns, I’m not a huge fan of big statistics and charts as a method for inspiring donations. Instead, I tell our clients to pick one, real story and to present the impact a donation can make to change a person’s life.
But many donors, supporters and businesses want to see the collective impact an organization is making. In that case annual reports are useful. But, as far as marketing tools go, they often miss the mark because they’re usually filled with too much information.
“Look at us!”  “Look what we did.”  “Isn’t our organization and staff awesome?!?”
Isn’t it time we gave our annual reports a face lift?
Why not start by asking your board and leadership, “Why do you want an annual report? What’s the real objective?”
Maybe show them how an infographic can make the same case in a more impactful way. Infographics are simple and powerful. Here’s one we created for our good friend (and longtime client), Captain Shelley Marshall (Ret.).
It was so popular that her 51 offices around the world wanted similar ones so they could show off their individual impact. And, just below the first graphic, notice the added page to the right and how it makes sure to put the focus squarely on the donor by saying, “Supporters like you helped us make a difference. We salute you.”

Fundraising inforgraphic for NMCRS by MarketSmart
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FUNDRAISING INFOGRAPHIC BY MARKETSMART
 
 
 
 
 

6 responses to “Isn't It Time We Gave Our Annual Reports a Face Lift?”

  1. Joe Brand says:

    I challenge my church and non-profit clients in a similar manner. I often see them post spreadsheets on a screen, as if numbers alone tell the story of their budgets and annual achievements. I suggest a narrative approach, or even a poem! If I ever get an annual report in the form of a Haiku, I will shout for joy. The mission of these organizations is vital for human flourishing around the world. Yet the story they often tell about their work is not inspiring. The info graphic tool above is beautiful and captures both hard data and a human element that is essential for most donors to feel motivated to continue giving. I will be passing this post on to my clients soon! Well done.

  2. Joe Brand says:

    I challenge my church and non-profit clients in a similar manner. I often see them post spreadsheets on a screen, as if numbers alone tell the story of their budgets and annual achievements. I suggest a narrative approach, or even a poem! If I ever get an annual report in the form of a Haiku, I will shout for joy. The mission of these organizations is vital for human flourishing around the world. Yet the story they often tell about their work is not inspiring. The info graphic tool above is beautiful and captures both hard data and a human element that is essential for most donors to feel motivated to continue giving. I will be passing this post on to my clients soon! Well done.

  3. Greg Warner says:

    Thanks Joe. Glad you liked the ideas.

  4. Greg Warner says:

    Thanks Joe. Glad you liked the ideas.

  5. agree totally, as usual…. what is our report? Stats…..or a Story? thanks.

  6. agree totally, as usual…. what is our report? Stats…..or a Story? thanks.

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