The Essentials: A Nonprofit Annual Report Template
An annual report is not a necessary evil, but a critical opportunity to communicate your mission and impact to donors and to thank them for being a part of it and making it possible. Use our nonprofit annual report template as a step by step guide to help you produce a report donors will love.
We’ve also created youtube tutorials for each section of the template! Watch them here.
Let’s Break It Down, Page by Page.
What’s the balance between being informative without overloading donors with content? There are some essential elements you need to cover while being efficient with your words, but resist the urge to cram as much content into your report as possible. Instead, focus on being efficient and effective with your words. Follow our nonprofit annual report template below.
Letter from the Leader (1 page) – Watch our Video on Leader Letters
Donors deserve to hear from the person who is leading the organization. This letter sets the tone for the entire report. They need to hear the achievements and challenges your organization faced over the past year. Make sure you include at least one ambitious goal you have for the year ahead. Conclude it with gratitude for their generosity.
Mission + Metrics (2-4 pages) – Watch our Video on Mission and Metrics
Remind donors why you exist. State your mission and then get to the heart of your impact. Share key impact metrics. How many people did you impact? How many places did your organization reach? How many different outcomes can be measured?
Program Overview (4+ pages) – Watch our Video on the Program Overview
The size of this section depends on the number of programs and services your organization offers. It’s just an overview, not a technical guide. Use this section to highlight what you do and where you do it. Include at least one picture and one key stat with each program.
Impact Story (2 pages) – Watch our Video on Impact Stories
As important as numbers are, donors need to know the difference you are making in someone’s life. You need a representative impact story. Include a picture of the person if possible and describe how their life is better as a result of the work you are doing.
Financials (2 pages) – Watch our Video on Financials
You need to present both the income and expenses for the year. You don’t need a line item budget but you do need to show how much money went to programs and how much was required for operations. If expenses exceeded income, make sure you provide a few sentences to provide an explanation. Use this page to highlight your audit or any other third parties who have endorsed your organization.
Testimonial (1 page) – Watch our Video on Testimonials
You need someone to speak on your organization’s behalf. It can be a board member, corporate partner, donor, foundation leader, or beneficiary. But you need to include someone’s voice other than your own who can build credibility. A quote will suffice!
Leadership (2 pages) – Watch our Video on the Leadership section
Who are the key leaders of your organization? You have to include the executive team and board of directors. If your organization is small, you can include the entire staff.
Looking Forward (1 page) – Watch our Video on the Looking Forward Section
As great as the last year has been, your organization is forward looking. State at least one ambitious goal or challenge for the next year. It will remind your donors why your nonprofit needs their ongoing support.