We love showcasing what I like to call “New and Improved” annual reports from our readers. I think the time of the 40+ page annual report is over and we should focus on our donors and what they actually want. Bonus: That’s also a lot easier for you to produce! Our recent submission is from Liesl Manone with Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank who has shared their organization’s first ever annual report. I think it’s great! ~Kivi
Guest Post by Liesl Manone with Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank
Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank is a small, local nonprofit serving pet owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We are powered by an army of supporters who donate time, money, and pet food in good faith that their gifts are being used wisely and that they are investing in the long-term success of our program.
Established in 2008, we had never done an annual report. Our board of directors concluded that it was time to share with our supporters the amazing impact they’ve had in our community.
To prepare, I participated in Kivi’s webinar at Charity How To on “Annual Report Basics: Written Annual Reports Donors Will Actually Read.” The information provided by Kivi was useful and inspirational.
I sensed an infographic would work well for our data.
Don’t Forget to Feed Me’s operations are fairly straightforward: We collect donated pet food and supply it to local food pantries – and we’re incredibly good at it! We have a treasure trove of heartwarming stories, anecdotes of success, and lots of hard, quantifiable data. All this needed to be boiled down into something simple yet impactful.
The purpose of the annual report was to demonstrate that our supporters have made a real impact in our community and we have been good stewards of their gifts. Our organization is young, but because of the support of our community, we have experienced amazing growth. Our board is prudent about tempering that growth to ensure that we do not overextend our capabilities. Three logical categories stood out: Mission Results, Measured Growth, and Financial Stability. Finally, we wanted to share objectives for 2015 and ask for continued support to reach Attainable Goals.
For the visual style, I looked at hundreds of infographics online. Working within our established branding, I created graphics to represent aspects of our program and coupled those with corresponding data. Early on, I sent a very rough draft to the board of directors and founders to ensure that everyone was in agreement about this format, as it is not what many of them had in mind by “annual report.” Everyone was excited and pleased, so we continued.
Pie charts and bar graphs came directly from our 2014 financials in Excel. I included relevant photos from the past year and a couple of call-out anecdotes. Copy was crafted to impart to the reader that all of this was their success. “You” is the focus of the text. The self-mailer was born out of a desire to keep costs to a minimum.
The video was created in PowerPoint and set to music purchased from a royalty-free service online.
The print piece hit mailboxes last week, and we uploaded the video to our website and social media soon after.
We have had an outpouring of positive comments. Supporters have overwhelmingly stated that it is appealing, fun, and informative. People are actually reading it, and we couldn’t be happier!
We’re already looking forward to pulling together 2015 and creating something even better next year.
Liesl Manone is the Operations Director (and only full-time employee) with Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank in Fort Worth, Texas. Liesl joined Don’t Forget to Feed Me in February of 2013. Previously, the organization had been all-volunteer run. Liesl has spent most of her career in the non-profit sector, working for notable organizations such as KERA Channel 13/Dallas and Girl Scouts of Texas-Oklahoma Plains. Additionally, she has worked in local government and in the corporate world. Her most previous position before joining the Don’t Forget to Feed Me team was as communications manager for the Arlington Life Shelter in Arlington, Texas. Liesl grew up in Crowley, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Science in Radio/Television/Film from the University of Texas at Austin. She is married to Rich, and they live in Fort Worth with her daughter, three entitled cats, and two very lazy pugs.
Liesl can be found on LinkedIn, or you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.