I presented a webinar called "The New and Improved Nonprofit Annual Report" three times in 2011, where I urged nonprofits to stop producing long, printed annual reports and to look at shorter, more readable and viewable, alternatives.
I asked the same two poll questions each time: at the beginning of the webinar I asked what their annual report looked like last year, and at the end of the webinar (after they saw many examples of shorter formats) I asked what format they were most likely to try for the coming year.
Over 100 nonprofits participated in the polling over those three webinars, and I have averaged the results below.
What Annual Report Formats Nonprofits Are Using
A quarter of the nonprofits didn't do an annual report at all the previous year, but the majority, 54%, had created a printed report that was longer than four pages. I didn't ask how much longer, but in the webinar chat, several nonprofits said their reports were 10 or 20 pages or even longer. 15% had created a short printed version and 6% had created an online-only version of a PDF or PowerPoint presentation. None had used an online version like a video or website page (not a PDF).
What Annual Report Formats Nonprofits Want to Try
After the webinar, where I strongly encouraged much shorter printed formats like oversized postcards or 2-4 page reports (especially for those nonprofits who use the annual report mailing as a fundraiser and need to include a return envelope), as well as video and other online formats, only 20% said they were most likely to stick with the longer printed version. Nearly half, 47%, were going with a 2-4 page printed version, while 23% were going to try an oversized postcard. Another 7% wanted to try a mini-website (either as a separate domain or a subdomain on their existing website) and 3% wanted to try video.
You can see all of the samples I shared during the webinar on the Nonprofit Annual Reports Wiki I created. Please add your examples of new and improved nonprofit annual reports to the wiki!
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