Your Annual Report: Why you need one

When a nonprofit organization, church or missionary hears the words “annual report” one of two thoughts usually come to mind:

1) Let’s get the financial team to print out the income and expenses (or for smaller teams let’s open QuickBooks or the checking account) and then print out the donor names list so we can get this thing done fast.

2) What is an annual report and why on earth do we need to do that? Isn’t it outdated? We’re not big enough for one of those!

However, we want to challenge you to take a look at a third thought when you hear the words annual report… “Yes! A chance to tell the story of how these donors changed lives last year, celebrate the impact we have made together and invite them to continue to invest in the mission and vision!”

While we will be diving into digital or printed annual reports and tips for creating annual reports that make an impact in future posts in this series, we wanted to first start with some of the reasons we believe every nonprofit, church and missionary should have some form of an annual report.

  • An annual report gives you a chance to highlight how a donor or Church member’s investment made a real difference the previous year.
  • Many donors care about stats and figures, they want to know how about their return on investment, and your annual report allows you to turn those numbers into stories – satisfying both those who love cold hard numbers and those who love emotional stories.
  • Your annual report can be a catalyst for new donations from those who receive it and haven’t given before, a reengagement tool for those who haven’t given in a while, and something that inspires those who do give to invest above and beyond.
  • Most grant-making organizations and many major donors request an annual report when considering whether or not to make a gift to your work.
  • An annual report gives you the opportunity to highlight donors and volunteers
  • An annual report gives you the ability to reflect on where you’ve been and use that as a foundation for where you are going, inviting donors to invest with you in the year ahead.
  • Provides accountability and trust – a well done annual report that accurately reflects your income, expenses and statistics give donors trust in how you are spending their investment.
  • Gives you collateral to send and give out throughout the year that is current.

Obviously, there are a lot more reasons we believe you should have an annual report, but we hope these have given you a good reason to consider having an annual report – even if you are an independent missionary or small Church.

In the next posts in this series, we will be exploring print vs. digital annual reports as well as tips for designing one that inspires and invites donors to join you on the journey.


Echo Your Story is passionate about helping nonprofits and missionaries create compelling annual reports that tell stories and help you increase revenue. Get in touch with us for a free consult on how we can help you!

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