For most charities the annual report and accounts is one of the most important documents it produces. And of course you’re legally required to produce it every year.
But as well as meeting the charity’s legal requirements, the report also fulfils several other essential functions:
- informing members and supporters of the charity’s progress and achievements
- keeping existing funders informed of what has been achieved with their money
- demonstrating to potential new funders that your charity is the kind of organisation that they want to support.
Identify your audience
Of course not every annual report is the same. Some are aimed primarily at members, as a way of informing them once a year about the charity’s activities. Others might be aimed primarily at potential funders, or at existing funders. And the kind of funders you depend on, or want to attract, can vary enormously – the information a corporate sponsor wants from an annual report is very different from what an individual donor or a charitable trust will be looking for.
One common decision is to produce a few copies of the actual report and the full audited accounts in a very plain and simple style, for submission to the Charity Commission and Companies House. The charity then produces a much larger number of an ‘annual review’, reflecting the content of the full report, and containing a summarised extract of the accounts. I can help you with the writing, editing and production of all of these documents.
As an experienced writer and producer of charity annual reports, I can write, design and produce a report that meets all your concerns. In consultation with your key staff, the process will start with a written specification of the target audiences, with the priority given to each. This will allow me to devise the concept, produce an editorial outline, and eventually write the content, targeted to the correct audience.
The long approach
Writing an annual report or review is a time-consuming and complex process, and requires a great deal of planning ahead. In recognition of this, I can offer a limited number of charities a specialised service.
When it comes to the actual writing and production of the report, the process is made much quicker, much easier and much more effective in its final achievement if the writer, editor and designer have a good working knowledge of the charity’s aims, objectives, views and approach. To this end it is possible to plan ahead, and make sure that your writer attends key meetings and events throughout the year.
Obviously there is a cost involved in this approach, but it can make savings in both time and money in the final stages of writing and production. As the time for all stages of the work will have to be planned well in advance (18 months isn’t too early!), you can also spread the cost of the work over time, and benefit from the discounts I offer for work booked well in advance.
If you’re interested in using this service for next year’s annual report, or even the year after, please contact me well in advance to discuss how to achieve the best possible result.
For examples of the quality of annual report I have produced in the past, see the portfolio section.