Creating Your Year-end Nonprofit Report Card

Yes, the holidays are upon us and most of us can’t wait for 2020 to end. We are busy with year-end fundraising and most importantly delivering services and advocating for those most in need. At the same time, this is when work on your nonprofit’s year-end report card begins. Here’s why: you’re telling your supporters what you’ve accomplished and what you need, and you are taking the first step towards 2021 fundraising.

Creating your year-end nonprofit report cardPeople want to know what your organization is up to, and your report card to the community is one part of telling, retelling, and updating your story. As with all communications, you must be honest, transparent and accountable. Share the good and the bad; and share solutions to the challenges you face. When people know what you are doing it is easier for them to find a way to support you. Here’s an example: you could report on your work with students as they adjusted to virtual learning. Or you could report on how you provided children with tablets, laptops, hotspots, and other technology; how you partnered with local churches to identify families in need of technology assistance; and how you included groceries with the learning supplies.

Creating your year-end nonprofit report cardThis is time to talk about what you are doing; it’s also time to talk about why you are doing it. Share and reinforce your vision and goals, or to introduce adjustments you have made to these. You want people to know what motivates your nonprofit: this can motivate those with a shared vision to reach out and become involved. Communicating your goals let’s people know how you plan on bringing your vision to life. Goals are where the rubber hits the road; defining them lets your supporters know what you are seeking to accomplish and can get them thinking about how they can help.

Speaking of help, it is always important to expand the definition. Many in the nonprofit sector look for funding (money!) as a way that people can help. That is absolutely true. But there are other needs that can be fulfilled when the community shares their resources. You may want to ask for volunteers to make and/or deliver meals; to review your evaluation system, metrics, and intake forms; or to reevaluate your insurance, internet, and cell service providers. Maybe you need an attorney to review and update your bylaws, or a realtor to help renegotiate your lease. There are a lot of ways people can help.

Most importantly, share how well you use your nonprofit’s resources. That means how you spend your money, how staff time and technology are deployed, and how relationships are leveraged for the good of the community.

Here is a summary of items to consider including: successes; challenges; impact; vision, goals, and priorities; lessons learned; a listing of donors, supporters, partners, and collaborators; year-over-year comparisons; facts and figures; and awards, milestones, and honors. Format and package your report in an engaging way and be sure close with a call for action.

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