So when exactly did the annual report take on its new modernized persona? A few years ago, I just kind of looked up one day—and BOOM! Gone were the days of the static print assemblage of a company's prior year balance sheets, operating and financial reviews, and cash flow statements that would subsequently take up valuable real estate in a storage closet or a file cabinet. For those of us who have held the (necessary, but often mundane) responsibility for producing annual reports, it has been a welcomed change.
Enter digital marketing. Like most marketing and communication headways, the annual report evolution originated in the for-profit sector. Many companies began moving from printed annual reports to new digital formats that could be easily shared (e.g., PDFs). Nothing changed much with the design process, but marketers were more than thrilled to eliminate the print line item from their budgets.
But then something remarkable happened. Companies like Warby Parker, MailChimp, and Kickstarter began incorporating digital functionality and fun into their annual reports. By merging corporate storytelling with innovative technology and hard-core financial data, these companies introduced us to a fresh new take on reporting organizational performance. Today, marketers across all sectors are producing their annual report with the intent of using it as a valuable marketing tool. In fact, Warby Parker has credited its annual report with increased sales and engagement levels as a direct result of creativity and viral distribution.
Nonprofit marketers are starting to take notice. Not to be left in the stone ages, some nonprofit marketers have recognized the value of reporting their annual highlights and financials to stakeholders and supporters in a more dynamic way. They're leveraging storytelling and combining it with HTML formats, multimedia, and interactive effects to visually communicate the yearly business and social impact of their cause work.
Here's one caveat. Printed annual reports might still make sense for some nonprofits, depending on the nonprofit's culture and audience demographics. But for those nonprofits with tech-savvy supporters, it’s worth considering a digital marketing strategy that includes an annual report makeover.
Check out these 7 great examples of the reimagined nonprofit annual report, and get inspired for your own 2016 year in review.
2. Girls Inc.
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