5. Reporting against aims or targets

The Charity Commission requires charities to report what they have done this year. Many charities provide that information in their formal annual report only, and other (usually bigger) charities produce stand-alone impact reports that present that data.

But your annual review is an ideal place to report – at least briefly – on how and whether you have achieved what you set out to achieve. Some feel this is done implicitly, by stating the organisation’s successes and achievements in a more general way. But others do a great job of explicitly taking each strategic target and reporting against it.

Beware: it can be a fine balance to keep the report readable with so many statistics and strategy talk washing around.

Top examples:

Norwood

  • Norwood – The annual review from the Jewish family and disability charity starts by stating that it intends to report back on its five strategic aims, as outlined in its 10 year strategic plan. So far, so formal. But though each section is topped with ‘Strategic Aim x’ and then the aim, the copy itself is just the right side of accessible. The text features case studies and quotes of those assisted by the organisation, with some achievements highlighted throughout the report in box-outs. There’s no particular intention to be fluffy and cuddly here. It’s all about impact and proving to funding and partners that their money is being well spent.

Breast Cancer Now

  • Breast Cancer Now – This is another review that takes reporting against its strategic aims seriously, highlighting the organisation’s achievements against each of them during the year. The review stands out because of the treatment it offers. There’s a continual repeat of the phrase ‘We Will’ (highlighted in pink) throughout the report. Then for each ‘We Will’ the charity reports what has been achieved. Again, it is a relatively formal report, but another recurring theme throughout the report makes it particularly compelling. Each of the case studies used are of women with terminal cancer. Each of the full bleed photographs of the women carries the strapline, repeated on the front cover, ‘I won’t be the last person to die from breast cancer, but there will be a last.’ Spine-tingling stuff.

Ufton Court

  • Ufton Court – Proof that even small, community charities understand the importance of reporting back and keeping promises. This bright, uplifting review from a Reading-based Elizabethan manor house that offers educational and inspirational activities for children doesn’t go into much detail. It simply states: ‘Last year we said we would…’ and over a number of pages outlines 5 things the charity had promised to do: create a high-rope course, build a celtic settlement, extend their work to south Reading. It then uses a small box to tell readers that the work was done, and explains how. Before you’re done reading, the charity makes four more promises, including a pledge to build a Viking settlement. You get the impression the report was written with child readers in mind. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!

Read about the other 5 key ingredients!

1. Digital integration

2. Good images

3. Highlights of the year

4. Case-study led

6. Innovative ideas

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