Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, the “annual report” creator

In Communications on July 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

annual report card                                                                            Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia – “Annual Report” Postcard

Depending on your fiscal year-end, chances are YOU just helped your organization publish an annual report. It takes a village to make an annual report. YOU need stories from the program staff, and financials from Finance; there is the obligatory Executive Directors message and that donor listing from your (hopefully) well maintained database.

But what if YOU didn’t do that?

Earlier this year I challenged our Department of Philanthropy to BE BOLD. Why would the annual report be status quo then?

This year we decided to buck tradition and try something new: no annual report at all! I say that tongue in cheek because of course, we wanted to share with our donors, supporters and partners how they have made the difference in the lives of those living with dementia.

We just didn’t want to do it with a 15 page booklet.

Here is what we did that maybe YOU can get some ideas from for your next annual report!

1. We made a video and we didn’t tell YOU who was who in it. We weren’t joking when we said that this “annual report” was going to be about the stakeholders who make things possible. In the video is our Executive Director, Board President and Director of Programs and Services. But also families that have used our services and volunteers. It doesn’t matter who is who.

2. We made a postcard (see above). All the information about our programming, our partnerships and even our revenue and expenses, can be found on a postcard. People have little time to sort through mail and sit down and read a booklet, but a quick snapshot with the important information is a great way to stand out in a overcrowded mailbox!

3. We made a website. One of the benefits of an annual report is being able to read an organizations financial reports as well as browse their donor listings. At the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia we believe that we need to be transparent and authentic to our donors, so we made a webpage on our site where supporters can see the video and download the financial information. We then bought a website address to re-direct to that page, for easier access.

4. We didn’t call the video or the postcard an ANNUAL REPORT. We did this on purpose. Because A – Now we can use the video or the postcard all year. One department has ordered enough to give every conference participant! And B – no one wants to read an annual report. The connotation with the term is, well, boring.

We sent actual postcards to donors, volunteers and supporters. Each department took their own stack. I took some and wrote personal notes (like you usually see on postcards) to monthly donors and sponsors. Some received the card electronically: For instance, our Giving Tuesday donors, since they were all online, were emailed the card with a link to the video.

Within a day of launching the video at our annual general meeting, we had close to 200 views and many comments on how nice it was to spend four minutes with an “annual report” rather than receiving a booklet.

While an annual report video and postcard is not new, I think it is BOLD. It is an interesting way to show donors how their donations impact Nova Scotians.

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