Annual Reports: The Best Resource for Nonprofit Content Marketing
I worked in the nonprofit sector for many years, and the question I heard over and over was, “Should we do an annual report?” I have a simple answer. Yes! There are countless reasons to do an annual report, and I could write on this topic all day long, however I’m going to focus on using an annual report as a great content marketing resource.
An annual report gives you a large quantity of high-quality marketing content, specifically related to your nonprofit organization. We all know content is king, and an annual report is a resource where you can easily pull photos, infographics, statistics, stories, and other relevant info to use in your digital marketing.
What should be in your annual report?
People sometimes still think of annual reports as financial reports, but over the last several years, those financial reports have become more of a “year in review.” These reports tell a story about the organization’s accomplishments and should inspire people to be a part of the story. These reports also give people peace of mind in knowing their resources are being used for good and that they’re really making a difference. There are many great resources on how to create an effective nonprofit annual report. If your report includes any or all of these items, then you’ll have content to pull for your digital marketing.
Information to include:
New programs or initiatives
Updates on programs or initiatives
Impact and social good
Volunteers and volunteer hours
Donations, monetary and non-monetary
Reach, how many people you’re helping and how many people are involved
A thank you letter or note from the executives
Call to action
A good annual report usually has some type of theme or style and includes several important elements. These elements will give you the pieces you’ll need to create digital marketing content that can be repurposed on all social platforms for many months.
Elements and styles that can be repurposed into social content:
Themed graphic elements
Facts, and maybe some fun facts
Top lists (Maybe top 3 most watched videos or top 3 events, etc…)
How should I use my annual report to create content?
If your annual report is a PDF, it’s easy to just pull a few pieces from it. Ideally, if you have the source files, it makes it a little easier as you can format your images to create the size and dimensions you need. Be creative and try to use as many pieces as possible that show what your nonprofit does and the impact it’s having in your community. Here are a few examples of ways to pull info.
Use all available photos from the report. If you don’t have the source files, be sure not to use photos with text over them, as in most cases the text will be too much or too small to read. Add your own text and branding. Use the same colors and style as the report. Here’s an example from the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s 2015 Annual Report.
Graphics & Infographics
Use graphics and infographics from the report. Using one per post gives focus on that one thing and you can elaborate on it in the post description. In the text, ask a question, post a link, or add more detail on the statistic. Here’s an example from Preston Trail Community Church’s 2015 Year in Review.
Screen Capture or Combine Elements
Ideally, just copy a pice of the report and use that as your image. In most cases, these reports were created in a print format, so some minor tweaks will be necessary.
If you have to edit the images to create visual interest, use two or three elements from the report if needed . Keep your images simple and clean and don’t stray too far from the branding on your report. Here’s an example from The Humane Society’s 2015 Annual Report.
What digital marketing platforms should I use?
You should use any platform you’re already using. Here’s a list of some platforms you could use and some ideas of how to use them.
First and foremost, I’d make sure your annual report is on your website. You can create an interactive page, but be sure to provide a PDF as well. Many organizations have a landing page with links to all of their annual reports. Using a vanity link each year makes it easy for people to find your annual reports. I like to use the year each time. yourname.org/2016
Link directly to your annual report and share report highlights.
Break your report down to tweets, use hashtags, and link back to the annual report on your website. Create a Twitter moment for your annual report.
Use photos and images to tell your story.
Use infographics and any creative, inspiring content. Create a board for your annual report each year and pin each page or section.
Create a link to the PDF version of your annual report and create posts by sharing highlights from it.
Whatever you’re posting on Facebook, post it here too. It will help your search rankings.
Create a presentation from your annual report pages.
Let your donors and followers know you have an annual report and send them to it using the link to your website.
You can easily create hundreds of posts from an annual report to repurpose throughout the year to create awareness for your organization, inspire people to get involved, and have some call-to-actions. People are much more likely to give their time and money to a nonprofit that they’re familiar with, knowing their resources are making a difference.
If you have questions, or if you’ve used your annual report in other ways that aren’t listed, please share in the comment section.