Nonprofit Annual Report on a Postcard

On Monday,  I asked if you could boil down your annual report to just six words. We are getting some great examples: check them out in the post comments!

But of course, I realize six words is probably not enough for most of you. What about a postcard? That’s more room, but still very short and readable, and one of the formats I advocate as the New and Improved Nonprofit Annual Report. It’s a scaled-down version that can still work in print, or online, and that makes more sense for both you as the nonprofit marketer and fundraiser and for your supporters (it’s actually one of a handful of different formats that work for 2011).

After I presented this webinar in February, Elissa Schloesser at Visual Voice created a mockup of what a postcard annual report might look like.

And now she has produced a real one for a client:



I’m hosting the latest version of one of our most popular webinars, The New and Improved Nonprofit Annual Report, on Thursday, June 24, 2011Join us to learn how you can transform your annual report into something people will actually pay attention to.

Today’s Book Giveaway

Could a postcard annual report work for your organization? Why or why not?

Leave a comment below answering (especially the why or why not part), and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of  “#SocialMedia Nonprofit Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Nonprofit Social Media Engagement” by Janet Fouts with Beth Kanter. We’ll draw the winner next week, so you have plenty of time to add your ideas.

I’m giving away a book each day this week, in celebration of the one year anniversary of my own book’s release, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause(on sale for $23.29 at Amazon).


© 2007-2017, Nonprofit Marketing Guide. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Post On
  • NRainwater

    Every year our annual report is becoming smaller and smaller because we are cutting much of the fluff (thanks to Kivi’s sound advice!).  I could definitely see our organization doing a postcard annual report, in fact, I’m making it a goal. Also, we are no longer publishing an annual report, we are calling it an impact statement.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that’s a pretty impressive mockup of a postcard-sized annual report. It tells me that only the stuff that I find important as a donor/supporter is on there without the extra stuff and fluff.

  • Anonymous

    What an intriguing idea Kivi! I’d see distilling your annual report to a post card as a valuable exercise in getting to the heart of what your organization does. (In a similar way, good direct mail fundraising copywriters will often recommed writing the reply device first, because it forces you to find the heart of your case for support and your offer.)

    But I don’t know whether shorter would necessarily be better (or not) in terms of achieving the results you want.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, or if you have any case studies on long vs. short annual report. Perhaps when we ask if a postcard annual report could work for an organization, it’s also a question of defining what we mean by “work,” i.e. what we want the annual report to accomplish for us?

  • Rebekah Gienapp

    I agree with Moira that  it’s important to think about what you want your report to accomplish. I’m not sure a postcard would work for my organization, for a couple of reasons. 1) We are a social justice organization with an egalatarian personality. One of the ways we show that is by including all donor names, from workers who give $20 to donors who give $5,000, without any distinction about giving levels, in our report. If we did a postcard, we’d need to find some other way to post a donor list. I wouldn’t want it to be online because of privacy concerns. 2) We have two major programs. Some donors care a lot about the first program, while others care much more  about the second. On a postcard we would have to choose one to focus on. 

  • Norman Reiss

    Yes, I think this is a great way to develop a brief, targeted message, which should be the goal for most communication channels.  This could also be used as a way to encourage a current or potential constituent to seek out more information in other places, such as the nonprofit’s website or to join the email or Facebook community.

  • Ann Rosenfield, CFRE

    Help me convince donors who are used to seeing their name in print in the annual report every year instead of online (because we charities have all trained them to expect print) that online and I am all yours.

  • Maryc

    I think it’s brilliant if it fits the mission for your annual report, because it’ll get way more readership. Unfortunately, I’m with a library, and we’re too addicted to words and message and the need to prove our relevancy!