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8 Best Nonprofit Annual Report Examples to Inspire Your Project

Planning your nonprofit annual report? Read our guide to the best annual report examples and create a better report for your organization this year.

Annual report spreads with blue waves

Starting to plan for your nonprofit annual report? Get inspired by this guide to some of the best annual report examples and get ready to create a better report for your organization this year.

When it comes to sharing your organization’s mission with donors, potential partners, and the community at large, there are few things as important as your annual report. Spend a little time researching ideas and you’ll find there are countless nonprofit annual report examples out there. So what makes one annual report better than another?

There’s no simple answer to building the perfect annual report. Instead, it’s important to create a report that showcases your organization’s unique mission, strengths, and successes - and to do it in a way that aligns with your visual brand.

In this guide, we’ll share some of our favorite examples of nonprofit annual report design and walk you through what makes each one great. But first, let’s get clear on what an annual report really is and what to include in one.

What is a nonprofit annual report?

While every organization’s annual report may look a little different, they are all really the same thing: a publication sent to a nonprofit’s donors and other stakeholders sharing how the organization has grown, evolved, and succeeded over the past year.

Put simply, an annual report puts all your hard work into an easy-to-consume package for the community. Annual reports typically target donors, volunteers, constituents and community members, and can be used to grow donor support and boost fundraising efforts over the coming year.

Annual reports typically share financial information that is required to be reported by nonprofits, but also go beyond the numbers to thank their supporters and highlight the organization’s mission.

Traditionally, annual reports were printed documents or brochures mailed out to supporters. But today, an annual report can come in many different formats, from a booklet or PDF to videos and interactive microsites.

What to include in a nonprofit annual report

The best nonprofit annual report examples stand out not only for their design, but also for the information they share. Here are some of the most important features to include in your next annual report:

  • A mission statement: Make sure your mission statement is front and center in your annual report to remind readers what your organization does.
  • Major achievements: The annual report is not a place to be humble. Shout your accomplishments from the digital rooftops and recap major events, initiatives, goals and targets. Get specific and share data that showcases where you excelled.
  • A clear financial statement: Showcasing how you raised and used donor funds is an important part of any nonprofit annual report. Share the numbers in an engaging way with context provided by stories, examples and great visuals.
  • Donor contributions: Remember, your annual report is a key tool in generating more donations for your organization. So make sure to highlight how you used donor funds successfully over the past year and the impact those funds made.
  • Branded visuals: The way your annual report looks is just as important as the information shared within it. Whether you’re creating your report in-house or outsourcing it to an annual report graphic designer, be sure to create a report that aligns visually with your brand.

8 Nonprofit Annual Report Examples to Inspire Your Project

Ready to start building your annual report? Explore the following nonprofit annual report examples - all designed by the Acton Circle team - to inspire your big project.

Tides | Interactive Annual Report Microsite Example

Tides Foundation is a nonprofit organization accelerating the pace of social change by helping change leaders, nonprofits, and donors work together to solve society’s toughest challenges. 

Tides wanted to take a unique approach to their annual report, creating an interactive website that would communicate their impact to both current and prospective partners. Tides also wanted to use this report to demonstrate their values to potential new hires to help attract the best talent.

The annual report microsite uses design, copy, visuals, and audio to present an interactive digital story that readers can weave through easily. Bold colors and clean lines created a modern report that aligns with the organization’s future-facing goals.

Homepage of Tides Foundation annual overview microsite with Asian woman standing in front of a building

In addition to imagery of their leaders, partners and staff, the microsite featured audio recordings of their members speaking about the organization, offering a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from the individuals making an impact.

Tides Foundation annual report microsite showcasing audio overlaw

Learn more about the Tides annual report here.

Planet Women| Magazine-style Annual Report

Planet Women is a nonprofit that seeks to change the culture of conservation by supporting women across the globe and within the workplace.

The significance of the organization's 2022-2023 impact report lies in its dual role as a crucial fundraising tool and a foundation for upcoming communications. This report not only shares information about the organization's impact and finances but also functions as a digital portfolio for showcasing to potential partners in the future.

The annual report combines natural elements and bold imagery with humanist fonts, creating a document flow that takes you on a captivating journey.

Annual Report Spread on a flat surface showcasing internal earthy spread

Large images are used throughout the impact report to give a face to the organization and the individuals they support.

Woman in Africa at Elephant sanctuary

Learn more about Planet Women's nonprofit annual report here.

Making Waves Education Foundation | Blue Annual Report Example

Making Waves Education Foundation provides educational opportunities for students who are traditionally underrepresented and underserved. The organization supports students through college and beyond, with coaching, scholarships, financial literacy, and more.

Their 2022-2023 annual report was student-focused, with large photographs, quotes and stories from the students impacted by the foundation’s work. The report also shares key data about student successes.

Large text, color-coordinated sections, branded icons, and infographics are used throughout the report to make it skimmable and easy to read.

Map image highlighting Making Wave's model and cover with student graduates

The report is carefully aligned with the foundation’s name, logo, and visual brand. The shapes of text boxes, images and page backgrounds are inspired by the wave patterns in the company’s logo.

View the Making Waves Annual Impact Report here.

Making Waves Academy | Bright Blue Annual Report Example

Making Waves Academy is a charter school run by Making Waves Education Foundation. The academy provides a holistic and rigorous education for 5th through 12th graders in Richmond, CA and the surrounding areas.

The academy’s 2021-2022 impact report was designed to give readers a feel for the school’s vision, culture, campus and outcomes. The design complements the annual report for Making Waves Education Foundation, but uses the academy’s brand colors and design elements in a unique way.

This report features bright blue and white waves as background graphics for many pages, with pops of bright orange and darker blue accent colors throughout. The imagery within the report is student-focused. Most images are of real students engaging in typical activities on campus rather than smiling and posed photographs.

Annual report spreads with blue waves

The design features an easy flow between pages with plenty of negative space to rest the eyes but also ensures that pages can stand alone for readers who are flipping through. More visuals and less text helps to keep readers engaged.

View the Making Waves Academy Impact Report here.

10,000 Degrees | Nonprofit Annual Report Microsite

10,000 Degrees works to achieve educational equity and support students from low-income backgrounds through college with mentoring, college prep, scholarships and more.

This organization took a unique approach to its 2022 annual report and created an interactive annual report microsite. The microsite aligns with the organization’s future-facing mission. And the site allows its donors, stakeholders, and community members to engage with the report in their own way, personalizing its deliverability.

10,000 Degrees made student success the focus of their report, clearly demonstrating the impact their organization had over the previous year. 

Bold colors and full-width website sections combined with hand-drawn circles, arrows, and graphics create a professional but youthful look and feel to the microsite, reflecting the audience they serve.

Website screen with 2 floating windows

This report also featured a page dedicated to sharing ways to give to the organization, with clickable links to monthly giving, scholarships, estate giving, and more. This page makes it easy for the foundation to boost their fundraising efforts directly from the annual report.

The organization also produced an accompanying PDF version of the annual report, which utilized the same imagery, colors and design elements as the microsite. A QR code on the donation page makes collecting donations easier even from those reading the hardcopy of the report.

Annual report spread showcasing graduates

View the 10,000 Degrees Annual Report Microsite here.


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Wu Yee Children’s Services | Red and White Nonprofit Annual Report Example

Wu Yee Children’s Services is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to helping children and families thrive. The organization provides daily meals and snacks through community food programs, creates childcare opportunities for families and provides early learning scholarships.

This annual report’s simple color palette –– using just red, white, and black ––  creates a bold design that keeps the focus on the organization’s mission and achievements.

Colored overlays on background images used within the report ensure the many diverse photographs look cohesive and on-brand with the report’s color palette. Bold red pages are used to highlight some of the report’s most important information, including their annual financial statements and program impact.

Bold red annual report financials spread

Simple red, white, and black custom illustrations and icons were also used throughout the report to illustrate the organization’s mission and share key data and successes.

Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF) | Annual Report Infographic Example

Partners in Development Foundation is a Hawaii-based nonprofit that empowers families to navigate social challenges and grow vibrant, self-reliant, and healthy communities. This organization took a unique approach to their annual report, putting together key information for constituents in an annual report infographic.

While the infographic does not share financial information or a letter from the organization’s leadership, it could be paired with those in an email or on the organization’s website.

The annual report infographic pulls inspiration from the organization’s logo and Hawaiian roots, using bright greens and yellows along with leaf and geometric patterns throughout the document.

Hawaiian-themed infographic

The annual report infographic also incorporated brightly colored, illustrated graphics that reflect their mission to serve young kids and families. This visual representation of their mission and impact makes the information easy for their audience to consume and understand.

More Than Bootstraps | Purple Annual Report Infographic Example

More Than Bootstraps is a New Jersey-based nonprofit founded by educators that helps first-generation college students succeed. The organization offers near-peer mentoring, stipend support for students, and resources for families.

In this nonprofit annual report example, More Than Bootstraps shared their annual data in a unique infographic. They leveraged their brand color — purple — and simple illustrations and bold numbers to create an eye-catching image that succinctly shares their work in the field. 

After sharing their mission, this infographic immediately highlights the problem the organization solves: the inequality in higher education, particularly for first-generation students. By sharing the problem first, the organization can provide context for the work that they do.

Illustrated graphics of students are used to clearly showcase the number of individuals served by the organization that year.

This organization also included impact stories and direct quotes from students they worked with throughout the year, giving donors and stakeholders unique insight into just how the organization’s work is changing lives.

How to Design an Annual Report

Now that you’ve explored these nonprofit annual report examples, it’s time to start planning your own project. Once you’ve gathered the information to include in the report, it’s important to carefully create the design of the document, infographic, or microsite.

Use these tips when designing your own nonprofit annual report:

Get clear on your audience

Remember that your annual report is not just about showcasing your accomplishments and sharing financial information — it’s about engaging donors and boosting your fundraising efforts in the year ahead. Make sure you’re clear on who the audience is (donors, community members, etc.) and share your story in a way that will resonate with them.

Make the report new & timely

The annual report should be timely and focused on the organization’s accomplishments within the past 12 months. Make sure to share the most recent data possible and to give the report a fresh look each year. Even if you want the annual report to have a similar look and feel each year, it shouldn’t be a direct copy of your last annual report.

Focus on storytelling

Every good annual report should tell a story. In the nonprofit annual report examples featured above, much of the focus was placed on the people served by each organization and the impact that was felt in their lives. Sharing the stories of your impact is one of the best ways to keep donors engaged.

Invest in strong visuals

While the information within an annual report is important, don’t forget to focus on the visuals, too. Annual reports should feature professional photography and a cohesive, brand-aligned design. Ensure that all colors, fonts, images, graphics, and other design elements align with your website, social media platforms, and other marketing collateral.

While annual report design can be created in-house, you should only DIY your report if you have an experienced graphic designer on staff. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to outsource to a graphic designer for nonprofits with experience designing impact reports.

Nonprofit Annual Report FAQs

How long should an annual report for nonprofits be?

Most annual reports average between 15-30 pages, but some may be as many as 200 pages. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to annual report length. Instead, the length of your annual report will depend on the size of your organization and the amount of information you need to share. 

But keep in mind that real humans are reading your report. If you want them to take in and understand your accomplishments and mission, it’s a good idea to make your report as concise as possible.

Should my organization upload our nonprofit annual report online?

Yes, absolutely! While annual reports were traditionally print documents, modern nonprofit annual report examples include everything from online, flipbook-style PDFs to microsites. Even if you do have a printed booklet, you can still upload a digital version of your report so anyone interested in your organization can access it, and you can track the engagement.

When should I publish my annual report?

Because a nonprofit annual report is really a fundraising and/or marketing tool, there’s no specific date when one must be published. 

Many nonprofit organizations publish their annual reports around the same time as they file the required Form 990 with the IRS, since they have their financial information organized and on-hand. Others, however, may time their annual report to coincide with a major fundraising event or other marketing initiative.

Book Your Nonprofit Annual Report Design

Ready to create your best-ever annual report? Contact Acton Circle today to learn more about our years of experience and our talented team of nonprofit annual report graphic designers.

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Published
August 18, 2023

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