2017 Trends In Annual Reports


By: Rebecca Teaff

Over the years, annual reports have evolved. However, throughout the changes, they still remain an extremely valuable tool to communicate with donors, volunteers and potential funders. The purpose of an annual report is to tell your organization’s story and communicate the past year’s accomplishments. While the goals of an annual report remain the same, the content and design trends have changed.


  1.    Less traditional content. Instead of long-form text explaining your organization’s story, trends show that pictures and short statistics work the same way, if not better. Try and get your point across in the most efficient, yet powerful way possible! Another way that content has changed in annual reports is to include not only accomplishments from the year, but also future goals as well.
  2.    Donor-centric. Throughout the report, your focus should be on speaking to your donors. Address them throughout the report, not just in the donor list! Instead of creating a long donor list that takes up space, consider shortening it and adding in more photos or text. Instead of a long list, brainstorm other ways you can thank you donors. Don’t forget: your donors should already feel engaged and appreciated without having to be mentioned on your annual report!
  3.   Combination of print and online. Traditionally, an annual report was throughout of as a “print only” format, but now both online and print formats are necessary. In a recent survey, only 7% of organizations surveyed used a print-only format and only 5% used an online-only. The great things about having an online format is that you’re able to track opens and clicks, allowing you to see what content is performing best.
  4.    One-pagers. Having a one page, or a condensed report, is another trend that is proving successful for organizations. A smaller, to the point, annual report allows you to focus on what’s most important to say. Bonus: it’s less expensive to print and ship!


Redstart Creative is aware that creating and making changes to digital marketing products is a large task for any non-profit organization. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your annual report or other collateral materials.