Industry news

12 November 2018 Andy

How to make the perfect annual report for your association

What should be in your association’s annual report?

Typically, if we’re considering an average company, an annual report might contain financial data, corporate activities and so on. But this format is not relevant to most membership associations as their objectives and the report’s audience is likely to be different. Whilst every organisation is different and there is no set formula, your report could contain these sections:

  • A reminder of your association’s mission and values
  • If representing an industry, a reflection on the current state of the industry it represents
  • Changes within the industry/association in numbers
  • Significant campaigns, stories and outcomes over the year
  • Challenges faced and expected future activities/challenges

Ultimately it is down to you to include the information that your audience would find informative.

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5 tips for making a compelling annual report

Putting all the right information into your report is key, but so is making the report a compelling read. Some ideas to consider when making your report:

Be brief but informative
It is important to make sure you have all the content you need for your audience in your report. But don’t waffle – be concise to ensure that more information is absorbed.

Tell your story - and its outcomes
Inform your audience of the key activities you have been part of during the year. This might include campaigns, fundraising or anything that is critical to your association. Include the stories of the people behind your efforts. Don’t forget to include what happened because of these activities and who was affected.

You have a mission
You have probably outlined your mission and vision in your report. That is why your association exists. Make sure throughout your report that you reflect on your mission when deciding on what to include and when explaining your activities.

Pick the numbers that matter
A common mistake is to try to shoehorn a lot of stats into the report. Stats are a key part of an annual report as they inform the reader on the current state of the industry/association and help form ideas of trends. But too many numbers mean that the main points get lost. Consider asking yourself what numbers are really crucial and only include those. It gives your report more impact and you have more room to comment and explain the key metrics.

Up your visual game
A report is unlikely to be read in its entirety if each page is a wall of uninspiring text. Photos, graphics, tables, quotes and more allow information to be digested more easily.

Need help with your annual report?

Hopefully, we have provided some useful advice for you to consider when making your association’s annual report. However, if you need someone to design and guide you through it then get in touch. We’re experts in membership associations and offline marketing such as annual reports.

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