first_imgIf you learn only one thing about writing nonprofit annual reports, let it be this: Focus on your accomplishments, which are not the same thing as your activities.Maybe you attended lots of meetings with local business leaders, for example. That’s an activity. But why do you go to those meetings? What are you trying to get done by attending them? How do you justify spending all that time in those meetings? That’s what we want to know – what does your participation in those meetings accomplish and how does that relate back to your mission statement?You revamped your website this year and added a blog. Great, but so what? Just about everyone else did that this year too. As a potential donor or volunteer, why do I care? What can your organization do better now that the site has been upgraded? Are you offering faster or more efficient service to your clients? Does the site include new tools that make it easier for you to connect with your community? Tell us how your new website and blog relate to implementing your mission.As you try to convert your activities into accomplishments, keep asking yourself this question: “And that’s important because . . .?” This will help you connect the dots between what you do and why you do it. Here is an example of how this conversation can work.“We hosted a golf tournament and a silent auction as fundraisers.”“And that’s important because . . . The events raised $20,000.”“And that’s important because . . . We need the money.”“For what . . . Our scholarship fund.”“Which is important because. . . These kids can’t afford college otherwise.”“And how many scholarships did we fund with $20,000 . . . Five.”Now, which idea should lead the section of your annual report on this area of your work?“We held a golf tournament and a silent auction.”Or“We helped five needy students attend college.”It’s easy to get caught up in all the work you are doing and lose the focus on why you are doing it. In your annual report, it’s essential that you step back and remember why.You’ll find more resources and training on writing nonprofit annual reports at www.NonprofitMarketingGuide.com/annualreports.htm.About the Author: Kivi Leroux Miller provides training and personal coaching on all aspects of nonprofit marketing and communications to organizations big and small across the U.S. If you want to write newsletters and annual reports that your supporters will love or create websites and blogs that educate and inspire, visit www.NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, where you’ll find a free e-newsletter, articles, webinars, e-courses, and more.last_img read more