How to make sure your Annual Report gets read.

Communication is hard. Every aspect of your life depends on communicating well, from small things like being sure you get the right coffee order to significant issues like making the purpose of your organization understandable.

And just like communication is about being clear in your message, it’s also about understanding and considering your audience.

When people feel understood, they listen.

Seems obvious, right? But how many times today did you feel heard? Really listened to? I bet not as much as you would have liked.

So how do you make people feel heard (and thus listen) in a seemingly one way communication like an annual report?

The answer is simple — pick a theme.

You need to show your audience you thought of them first. You thought about why they needed the information in the first place, and what their experience would be while taking it in.

Picking a theme for your annual report will —

  • keep the information relevant
  • set a tone for the year to come
  • help the audience connect personally with your mission
  • And bonus — give structure to your preparation process.

You can’t unlock a smartphone these days without reading about how distracted we all are. When your organization sends out its annual report, this is your competition. Information overload leads us to check out, to default back to something more comfortable or more immediate.

A theme can keep people captivated, turning pages, and engaged with your goals and accomplishments.  

A theme is your gift to your audience. You gain trust by taking potential supporters on a journey that feels thought out and delivers a clear, consistent message. You show them how they play a role in your success.

Now that you understand the importance of creating a theme for your annual report take some time and reflect on possibilities for your organization.

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Next week — find out how to choose a theme that’s right!