Annual Report Design
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Interactive vs. Traditional Annual Report: Choosing the Best Way to Tell Your Nonprofit’s Story

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Debating on whether an interactive or traditional annual report is best for your nonprofit? Here's how to choose the best report style to tell your nonprofit's story.

Looking for the best way to tell your story? Consider if an interactive or traditional annual report is the best way to let your nonprofit’s message shine through.

What is a Traditional Annual Report?

A traditional nonprofit annual report is a PDF (or similar) document presenting your nonprofit’s impact data to your community and donors. Traditional reports use static graphics and visuals to complement and explain impact data. 

What is an Interactive Annual Report?

An interactive annual report is just that — an interactive report. With this type of annual report, you can navigate through different elements without leaving the report, such as watching videos, listening to audio clips, clicking through content, and interacting with fun charts, maps, and the like. 

One of the most popular ways to design an interactive annual report is to create a dedicated microsite, a small website dedicated to your annual report.

Another way is creating an annual report using an online “flipbook” creator, such as Issuu or FlowPaper, which allows you to add minimal interactivity, such as embedding videos and allowing readers to easily zoom in and out, making it more accessible for everyone.

What is the Difference Between an Interactive and Traditional Annual Report?

Two hands interacting with a variety of charts and graphs on papers

The main difference between an interactive and traditional annual report is that one has interactive elements and pages while the other, the traditional report, doesn’t (or has minimal). But it’s more than that.

Traditional annual reports offer a classic design and a print-ready PDF that most nonprofits rely on. You also have the same ability to add infographics to support your story, even if it’s not as “interactive” for the reader.

Most interactive reports require a separate PDF download for print or for readers who are unable to navigate through interactive design. However, it allows you to get more creative and unique in how you tell your story, deliver your nonprofit’s message, and share via social media.

Interactive annual reports can add engaging features, such as forms or quizzes, and guide the reader through animations and breaking your text into smaller, easier-to-read sections thanks to its’ adaptable design.

More features require more time, and while a traditional report is delivered in 4-8 weeks, an interactive report takes 6-8 weeks.

What’s The Right Option for Your Nonprofit?

The type of report you need truly depends on how you want your story told, the impact you want shared, and the way you need to present your data based on what your donors are speaking to.

Different donor types are looking for different types of data and storytelling — some of which would be perfectly delivered as a traditional impact report and others that would be better presented in an interactive impact report. 

Donor types such as Corporate Donors and Baby Boomers that are looking for quantifiable data, may not need the fun graphics and design used in an interactive report — whereas a Gen-Z donor type appreciate highly visual and shareable content (which is exactly what interactive reports provide). 

But, if your nonprofit is just getting started and you need an annual report to snail mail, a traditional annual report can get the job done!

If you’re still unsure — or would like to know more — reach out to our team today and book a free consultation where we’ll compare options and find out which one is right for your organization.

June 21, 2024

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