This question came in last week to AskKivi.com, the site where you can ask me all those publications questions not answered on my other websites.
“What is a good ratio of program to budget information for annual reports for a nonprofit organization?”
I’d go with the 80-20 rule on this one. Eighty percent should be programmatic info and twenty percent should be financial reporting. If you have a 12-page annual report (self-cover) that means you’d have one two-page spread on your financials. That’s plenty, considering you also need to save some space for donor lists, which brings me to another question I get all the time.
“How many pages in our annual report should we devote to donor lists?”
On this one, I’d go with more like 10-20% tops. In a 12-page report, I’d try to get the lists all on one page, or at most, one spread.
It’s important to recognize your organizational funders and individual donors in your annual report, but not at the expense of adequately explaining your accomplishments and your financials. If you find yourself using page after page for donor lists, and you can’t afford a longer report, it is time to find another way to recognize lower level donors besides your annual report, such as inclusion in your newsletter or website.