MH Copy • firstname.lastname@example.org • 07725 028 643 • www.mhcopy.comCharityCommsEditorial skills for charities workshopMakeover your annual review handout10 golden rules / 10 foods for thought1. AudienceGolden rule oneAsk yourself the question, ‘Who is my charity’s annual review for?’ What you feature, how you talkabout it and how you present your information will all depend on this. Remember, it’s probably notfor your trustees and is more likely to be for supporters and potential supporters.Food for thought oneAsk your potential audience what they want from an annual review. What do supporters, corporatepartners, etc, want to read about?2. Tone of voice / languageGolden rule twoUse warm, conversational, language that engages people. Don’t think you have to be too formal.Also be passionate about your achievements and recognise that it’s only with the help of yoursupporters that you can achieve so much.Food for thought twoIf you’re not sure what tone of voice is right for your annual report, give it an identity. Choose acelebrity, historical figure or someone you know and imagine how they’d communicate with yourtarget audiences.
MH Copy • email@example.com • 07725 028 643 • www.mhcopy.com3. LayoutGolden rule threeImagine your pages are plates of food. They need to look appetising and digestible to your reader.Therefore, create small chunks of information and don’t overload a page with too many messages.Food for thought threeRemember the purpose of your annual review is to bring your charity to life. It’s not to detail everyaction from the last 12 months. Think about your audiences and highlight what will have the mostimpact with them. Simplicity really is key here.4. Chairman and CEO statementsGolden rule fourDon’t let your chairman or CEO write their own statements. Interview them or email questions thatwill lead to the information you want to be present in their statements.Food for thought fourDon’t have a chairman or CEO statement. Have a more general statement, or consider having asupporter deliver the welcome statement. Although, again, make sure they deliver the messagesyou want your audiences to hear.5. Case studiesGolden rule fiveYes, make sure you use case studies, but also make sure you use them effectively. This meansnot overusing them, as they will compete against each other. Also, make sure your case studiesdeliver a message quickly. Don’t coat what you want to get across too much with backgroundinformation.Food for thought fiveAlternatively, make case studies absolutely central to your annual review. Let them deliver all ofthe information about your achievements and objectives, or let them introduce sections of yourreview. Also make their language conversational and fun.
MH Copy • firstname.lastname@example.org • 07725 028 643 • www.mhcopy.com6. Imagery and photographyGolden rule sixMake an investment in your annual review’s images. You usually get what you pay for. Don’t usestock photography. You need to communicate who you are in a glance. This rule applies for piecharts, graphs and illustrations as well.Food for thought sixUse illustrations. They add a real warmth to any document. How about getting employees,professionals or people you support to illustrate areas of your work or draw pictures of themselves.7. FormatGolden rule sevenHowever you choose to present your information, make sure your audience can navigate through iteasily. They need to know how to find things quickly. And they need to know where they are in adocument when they’re reading something.Food for thought sevenThere are limitless formats to choose for your annual review. Just try and think a little bit outside ofthe box but without distorting the message you want to get across. One format I particularly like isa day in the life of a charity. As you turn the pages of the review you meet people who deliversupport and hear about achievements linked to their area of work.8. MultimediaGolden rule eightThink about different media and how they could help you to engage with your audiences more.Many people may prefer an electronic version of your review. Investment in an interactive onlineversion could be better money spent than producing hundreds of printed copies.Food for thought eightProduce a 100% video annual review. Send all the necessary annual report stuff to the CharityCommission but make your annual review come alive – literally. You can find a really goodexample of this on YouTube by a US charity called Volunteer Match.
MH Copy • email@example.com • 07725 028 643 • www.mhcopy.com9. Use what’s out thereGolden rule nineLook what other charities and organisations do for their annual review and don’t be afraid to pinchtheir best bits. There is a wealth of information you can look at on the internet to help inform whatyou want to produce.Food for thought nineSpend a day at home and trawl the internet for ideas. You need to give yourself the space to doeffective research. It will be the best investment of your time you make.10. Gathering informationGolden rule tenIt’s vital that you plan from a very early stage. Straight after you’ve finished your previous review isnot a bad idea. You can then nail down a concept and start to gather information throughout theyear that will make this concept work.Food for thought tenIn an ideal world, instil in your Marketing team (even the whole organisation) the importance of theannual review and that every project they are involved in might be relevant to it. Then create afolder where information can be dropped in about successes, case studies, statistics – sometimesthe thing that nobody knows about can make the most compelling story or titbit of information.