How to Utilize Annual Reports for Donor Retention

annual reports

The end of the year is the busiest period for most nonprofit fundraising teams. During this time, they compile statistics and check fundraising data to summarize success and identify new opportunities for the upcoming years. Studies have shown that nonprofits can retain supporters for longer by sharing annual reports. In this article, we will discuss how nonprofits can utilize annual reports for donor retention and provide tips on how to create an effective report. Read on to learn more.

Communicate Organizational Impact

To retain donors, it is essential to communicate the impact of their donations and how they helped achieve your organization’s mission. For instance, a donor who supported a school’s music program would be thrilled to know how their donation contributed to starting a school band. You can ensure donor retention and secure additional funding by communicating the impact.  

Communicating impact involves: 

  • By citing statistics demonstrating the program’s impact on the community, you can effectively and persuasively showcase its success. This will inspire your donors to continue donating to your mission.
  • After reading the reports, use storytelling strategies to attract donors to help them remember the impact. People tend to remember stories more than statistics. 
  • Thanking your donors. You can use thank you messages from leaders in your organization, like a development director or executive fundraising officer. 
  • Recognizing your donors with a custom-designed donor wall.

Transparency with Donors

Transparency is crucial when it comes to donors who donate to your organization. They deserve to know how their funds have been used and trust that you will do an excellent job for the community. When writing an annual report, it is essential to explain what you did with their funds and accept the organization’s wins and failures throughout the year. Although you are required to submit a financial statement in Form 990, you are not obliged to submit financial data. However, making your financial reports transparent increases donors’ trust and makes them comfortable supporting you even for the long term.

Create Digital Report 

Creating a digital report is essential for Young donors and Generation Z, who prefer digital engagement. The information should be shared in a way that the donors can understand. For example, you could 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.  

It’s important to know your donors’ preferred annual report formats in your donor management software. Identifying those who want a web copy and those who prefer a printed copy should be easy. Also, it’s important to create a downloadable format of your annual reports that you can easily access on your website. 


In conclusion, engaging with donors helps to retain existing supporters and attract new ones. Your annual report on the website is crucial as it communicates the impact of the donors on your nonprofit organization. The above tips are useful in maintaining a good relationship with your donors.

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