Nonprofit Annual Report Checklist: 17 Must-Haves for Your Next Report
Create an engaging, impactful annual report for your organization.
Feeling the data overload? Discover the power of infographics in annual reports. Find out how these visual tools can turn complex numbers into engaging, digestible stories. Let's make your next annual report a page-turner, shall we?
A well-designed infographic is a great way to expose people to new ideas and educate them on the topics and causes that are most important to you. But if you want to make the most impact with your infographic design, you have to understand the unique strengths and weaknesses of this particular medium—only then can you maximize those strengths and avoid potential pitfalls.
Some organizations combine the power of infographic design with their annual data. This approach is a highly visual way to remind your readers about your organization’s yearly accomplishments.
In this article, we’ll set the foundation by describing what an infographic report is and how you can leverage it to showcase your organization’s annual report. Keep reading to discover how you can design, implement, and publish a highly engaging annual report using infographic design.
An infographic report is a dynamic, visual representation of key information or data that you want to share with readers. Infographics can be used to highlight one-time research (such as when you want to establish thought leadership), or when you have specific findings to share.
For example, let’s imagine that your charity has managed to fundraise over a million dollars throughout the course of a year. Not only do you want to illustrate how you’ve accomplished this, but you also want to communicate with stakeholders how that money will be spent. An infographic report is an effective way to share dense financial information in a way that’s unique, eye-catching, and user-friendly.
By now, you’ve likely seen or read a handful of industry reports or annual statements. While some of them may have been captivating, others may have been bulky, dense, and hard to understand. Without exceptional design, annual reports can be nothing more than heavy information and stale facts and figures.
The good news is that with an infographic approach, you can transform your annual reports into something creative and helpful. Part of what makes infographics so effective is their ability to educate or inspire people through simple data points.
When it comes to infographic design, the first question to ask is, “What am I trying to say? What’s my main point?” It’s easy to drown out your message by including too many details, and you don’t want to have so much going on that the story is lost. Once you’ve identified your main point, you now have a solid foundation to structure the design of your annual report.
When designing your infographic, keep your design clean and remove clutter where necessary. Pick one main point, and focus on saying that one thing well rather than saying a dozen things poorly. Although subsections or bullet points are perfectly acceptable (since they make infographics more easily digestible), every line of content should serve your main idea.
Your infographic design should always contribute to your big takeaway. Avoid drastic elements that actually distract from what you want to communicate. You can achieve this by:
In order to take advantage of the perks of infographics, you must make sure that you actually display your data visually, going above and beyond standard bar graphs or diagrams. Get creative, and incorporate small surprises and professional-looking visuals.
Remember—think outside the box in terms of how to best “show” the content you wish to share with your audience. With a little brainstorming, you can come up with fun, interesting visuals to complement your message.
Additionally, you should aim to make the information and the graphics work together! For example, Acton Circle created an impressive, creative, and concise infographic for the Bridge Builders Foundation. See the infographic below to learn about Bridge Builders and how they support young Black and Brown boys and young men in the Los Angeles Area. From this infographic alone, you should be able to walk away with thorough knowledge of what the organization does, who they care about, and what their core activities are.
As you can see, we designed the infographic for Bridge Builders without clutter and extra noise. To accomplish this, we got a firm grasp on what Bridge Builders wanted to say, and we leveraged every piece of the puzzle to serve that message. Then, we put appealing visuals to work, ensuring that the overall infographic and aesthetic design would catch eyes and engage readers.
Infographic design can be used to spread awareness for any worthy cause, initiative, or organization. Attractive annual design reports can be leveraged to accomplish many worthy goals and priorities, such as:
If your goal is to use your annual report as a first impression, it’s even more critical that they’re attractive and appealing. This is where an experienced graphic design and branding team can help you bring a vision to life.
Download our FREE Nonprofit Annual Report Checklist to share with your team.