Creating Annual Report Content That Is Visual and Compelling

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creating annual report content
that is visual and compelling

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Annual reports. They come in all shapes and sizes. You know you need to do one every. single. year. So what can you do to make yours great? You’ll be happy to know it doesn’t have to take much! When it comes down to it, it’s really all about creating content that is visual and compelling.

keep the content visual

Gone are the days when a report needed to be 20 pages with lots of text and tiny photos. Nowadays, we strive to make it visually engaging. How?

  • Full bleed images that tell a story.
  • Short quotes from those impacted by your mission.
  • Infographics that highlight last year’s milestones in bite-size pieces.
  • A video that shares a story in a very engaging way. (more on that a little later)

creating compelling content

I’m a firm believer that an annual report should be an asset for an organization. The time invested in creating an annual report needs to have a good ROI, especially since it’s typically not a huge money maker from a donation standpoint. So here are a few ways to repurpose “old” content and create to new content you will use throughout the year.


Remember that if you share a story, it doesn’t have to be brand new to readers. The purpose of an annual report is to recap the previous year. Perhaps you can give an update on a compelling story you shared in an appeal or newsletter. If it was about a family who just moved into a house after being homeless for a year, share an update on how they are and the impacts the family sees now that they’re settled in. It’s another excellent opportunity to thank donors for the life-changing impact they’re creating in people’s lives.


Here’s another way to rehash an “old” story. So often stories focus on the client, but more often than not, these stories have a ripple effect that goes way beyond a client. Jump off the momentum of a popular story by telling it from someone else’s perspective. If your story was about a client’s journey through a health crisis, retell that story, but this time, from the viewpoint of a spouse, parent, or sibling. It can be powerful for readers to realize the impact your organization has beyond the clients you serve. 


Afraid of making and sharing your own videos? Don’t let them scare you off. Contrary to popular belief, a video doesn’t have to be a big production. It can be as simple as something shot on your phone and edited using software that comes standard on your computer. Imagine volunteers and clients working side-by-side to raise the first wall of a home or a person meeting their assistance dog for the very first time. Video is an exciting tool that can show emotion in a way that words never could. These clips can be used again on social media, at events, at board and staff meetings, the opportunities are endless!


The infographics mentioned earlier also have so much life beyond one annual report. Each one can become a social media post. Scatter them throughout newsletters. Use them on collateral displayed at events. The time invested in creating a cohesive family of infographics is a great resource that will serve you well in the upcoming year.

Habitat for Humanity annual report

“A visual tells a complex story in a manner that can be quickly consumed and easily understood” 
-The Power of Infographics

So there you have it. A few quick tips on how to create an annual report that will be a valuable resource to you and your organization for 2019.

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