10. Don’t put fundraising efforts on
the same level as mission-related
Donors expect you to raise money, but they
want to hear about how you helped
the world with it rather than how you
blocks of text with
12. e libraries or even books become obsolete? One look at the Public Library a
wer is clear: libraries have never been more important. The numbers speak
mselves. In the last fiscal year, 1 million visitors came through the Library’s d
her 3 million visited our website. Meanwhile, circulation and program atten
ng records. Public high school students are borrowing books, and scholars a
or research here. Job seekers continue to rely on our comprehensive resour
ary Center and other locations. And our public computers were used for .6 m
s in FY 2012, a 160% increase from five years ago. Together these facts und
essential the Library is to so many. The report is succinct: “No other institu
any different people in so many different ways.” However, even as use soar
ary continues to face severe fiscal challenges. Over the past five years, City f
Library has been steadily reduced, forcing us to find ways to continue servin
ons amid declining resources, and making private support even more crucia
mitted to vastly expanding free programs and educational initiatives in
branches. In FY 2012, we increased the number of free events at NYPL to m
55,000, while we expanded the number of computer classes to nearly 7,70
ore than 350% increase over the year before. Welong; Didn’t Read 1,8
Too also offered more than
L classes to help recent immigrants learn English. But we aim to do more. Ev
after school, 3,000 kids come to our branches. We should be providing the
13. Show what you’ve done
Leaving captions off
15. People will
Joe. Is he learning a new
trade or robbing us blind with
repairs we don’t need?
Joe, like many others we serve, came to
the center in 2012 after losing his job at
the local textile factory. With support
from donors like you we were able to
secure a position for him where he
learned to be an automotive mechanic.
He got a position at a garage earlier this
year and is giving back to the center so
others can have the same chance he did.
16. Make Your Captions Count
If people read nothing but the captions in
your annual report, they should still get
a sense for the good work you
did last year.
Leaving people out
of the story.
18. Your annual report
is not just a
checklist of the
things you have
19. Humanize your statistics with personal
Highlight how your work helped a specific
individual. Share a volunteer’s story of how
he or she made a positive difference.
statements with no
Many of your donors won’t know
how to read a financial statement or
won’t take the time to read it.
22. Explain in Plain English:
• Where does your money come from and how
do you spend it?
• What are your main fundraising strategies?
• Did you implement any cost-savings
measures this year?
Printing page after
page of donor lists.
24. If half of your annual
report is donor lists, you
should cut the lists back
to make more room for
text and photos.
25. Strike a balance between discussing
your accomplishments and recognizing
Or, even better, get rid of the donor lists
altogether and thank your donors in
more meaningful ways.
27. “Jackie, Jacque…eh, what’s the
While you would never be this brazen, it won’t
matter to the donor if her name is misspelled.
28. If you are uncertain about a donor’s name,
don’t guess. Check with the donor.
Use the full legal names of
government agencies and foundations
that gave you grants.
(Or, like I said before, get rid of the donor lists altogether and
thank your donors in more meaningful ways.)
Not telling donors
how they can help.
30. “Hello? Is anyone there?
Little help, please.”
Never leave a potential supporter hanging,
wondering how they can help you after you’ve
inspired them with your annual report.
31. Be clear about the best ways to help:
• How can they support you with their money?
• How can they support you with their time?
• Do you offer planned giving options?
• Can they donate with a credit card?
32. Buy the full e-book, How to Create a
Nonprofit Annual Report
Get the e-book with the All-Access
Pass along with all of our live webinars
and other exclusive Pass Holder
33. For more resources on annual reports, visit:
For examples of nonprofit annual reports and
to add your report, visit our wiki: