Beyond the 990 and other mandated reports is the organization also requiring an annual report?
While annual operations reports are not required by law they do have value for an organization. An annual report is a “story book” that demonstrates accomplishments and successes in meeting the organization’s mission. The report can also be presented to current and future donors, used to cultivate new partnerships, and recognize important people.
Most annual reports are relegated to the first quarter of the year so that all data for the previous year has been captured.
Basically the report is an accounting of the organization’s work over the past year – and – simple is better than complex glossy reports.
Employees and staff, like to know how well they performed in the previous year. Management wants to know:
- What was done,
- Why it was done
- What difference did it make
- How did it impact the mission of the organization
To help readers understand how activities helped the organization achieve its goals an overview should be included.
Let’s not forget to do a financial section that clearly explains where revenues come from and how they were spent. Here one can get fancy with graphs, charts and other visuals that help readers see the big picture and understand financial trends.
A short narrative description is essential, explaining in plain English the meaning behind all those numbers.
The challenge is in choosing what to include in the report. This will be dictated by the intent of the report.
Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org