Planning an Annual Report

The main aim of an Annual Report is to inform people about what you do. For community groups and other Third Sector organisations, an Annual Report offers an excellent opportunity to promote your cause and generate support.

First consider who your Annual Report is aimed at. Who do you want to promote your cause and activities to? Typically an Annual Report should be aimed at ‘stakeholders’, that is, people with an interest in your services and financial activities.

These might typically include:

  • funders

  • members

  • customers, clients or users

  • regulatory bodies

What to include

Having thought about who will read your Annual Report, consider what those readers will want to know about.  

Try and look at the issues with their level of outside knowledge (not with your extensive knowledge of the organisation):

  • think of your Annual Report as an excuse to state your cause - explain why you do things not just how you do them

  • outline your aims and objectives in a clear sequence

  • present statistics to illustrate the work you have done

Financial Information

You may not be able to include the full set of accounts as part of your Annual Report simply because it would become too long and unwieldy. However, you should aim to include summaries of your group’s financial activity within the text of the report. A full financial statement can be in a separate insert or presented alongside the report.

Give your readers the chance to reply

Always include a tear-off reply slip for donations or requests for further information.