Annual reports and how they’re distributed should be included in your annual communication plan and not left until the report is due to be released, which sadly can be the case in many organizations.
Supporters, current and potential, want to know about your organization, they want to know what you have been doing, where the resources have been allocated and they don’t want to have to wade through reams of paper to get the answers.
With internet being widely used it makes sense for organizations to make use of it to share not only what they do, but also share their annual reports and much more.
Perhaps you don’t want to upload the entire report, that’s ok, you can upload highlights from the report:
It’s all part of being open, accessible and giving your supporters what they want.
With more and more people spending hours searching for organizations to support, the more information that gives them what they’re looking for the better.
Openness is important and if organizations don’t or can’t provide the information people are seeking they will look elsewhere, they will go to organizations that provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision to support.
There have been instances where people have contacted organizations asking for more detailed information, not the ‘sales pitch’ most show on their websites, only to be told what they are wanting can’t be provided as it’s ‘confidential’.
Confidential? When funds are solicited from the community for services in the community – how can this aspect of what an organization does be ‘confidential’ – if your organization is one who says they can’t provide the detail you have to think again, are you doing justice to your organization?
For your current supporters, when you next send a newsletter, e-letter, or however you communicate with them – ask how they want to be contacted, how they want to receive your reports; you could be pleasantly surprised to hear that many will want reports, and general updates electronically.
Not only are you making it easier for your organization, your supporters, but you’re also doing your bit for the environment; and who doesn’t like a triple-win!!
Any organization working in the community needs to understand that it’s not only about them and they work they do, but it’s also very much about making it easy for supporters.
How are you distributing your annual reports, are you actively communicating with your supporters when it comes to the financial and service delivery aspects of your organization?