How to Utilize Annual Reports for Donor Retention

annual reports

The busiest period for most nonprofit fundraising teams is the end of the year. It is a time when they compile statistics, check on the impact data and fundraising data to summarize success, and identify new opportunities for the upcoming years. Information is collected in an annual report and shared with organizations’ supporters. The report shows the nonprofit state can help retain the supporters for longer. In this article, we talk about how to utilize annual reports for donor retention. Read on to learn more.

Communicate Organizational Impact

Donors give to your organization to help you achieve your mission. It would be best if you let them know about the impact of their donations and how they helped you achieve your mission. A donor who helps you support music programs in a school would be happy if you told them how the donation contributed to starting a music band in the school. By communicating impact, you can secure additional funding and retain the donor. 

Communicating impact involves: 

  • Citing statistics to demonstrate the impact of the program on the community
  • Using storytelling strategies to attract donors and help them remember the impact after reading the reports. People tend to remember stories more than statistics. 
  • Thanking your donors. You can use thank you messages from leaders in your organization, like a chief director or executive fundraising officer. 
  • Recognizing your donors with a custom-designed donor wall.

Transparency with Donors

Supporters who donate to your organization deserve transparency and believe you will use the funds to achieve your mission and do an excellent job for the community. When writing an annual report, you should explain what you did with their funds. Accept the organization’s wins and failures throughout the year. You are required to submit a financial statement in form 990, but you are not obliged to submit financial data. Form 990 is publicly available, and donors can review your finances. 

All donors appreciate it when you make your financial reports transparent. It increases donors’ trust and makes them comfortable supporting you even for the long term.  

Create Digital Report 

It is essential for the supporters who want to read your report via email. Young donors and Generation Z prefer digital engagement. The information should be shared in a way that the donors can understand. For example, incorporate the following in your annual reports. 

· Infographics that show vital statistics

· Video testimonials from volunteers, people you serve, and from your nonprofit organization

· Photos showing your organization’s events, gatherings, and volunteer opportunities.  

You should know the annual report formats that your donors prefer in your donor management software. Identifying those that want a web copy and those that want a printed copy should not be an issue. Creating the downloadable format of your annual reports and putting it on your website for easy accessibility is vital.  


Engaging with the donors helps retain more supporters and gain new ones. The annual report on your website is crucial as it communicates the donor’s impact on your nonprofit organization. The above tips will help you have a good relationship with your donors. 

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