8 Annual Reports We Love

January 27, 2021  |  Gabby Weiss

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and was updated in January 2021 to include more recent versions of annual reports from the featured organizations.

Annual reports are a staple of nonprofit life. They’re a powerful tool in communicating your impact, but what makes an annual report effective? It helps if they’re easy-to-understand, shareable, and engaging across a broad audience. To save money, time, and effort while putting together your annual report, we’ve compiled nonprofit annual report examples to help give your organization inspiration and a comprehensive guide to get you started.

1. Pathfinder International (2020)

Pathfinder International’s annual report combines thoughtful web design, powerful graphics, individual stories, and gorgeous portraits. One of our favorite parts is their section, “Impacts on Women and Girls.” It communicates how COVID-19 has had secondary effects disproportionately impacting women and girls. The page combines clean data visualization and concise, bulleted information on how Pathfinder responded and made an impact. It’s a clear and simple way to show their accomplishments at a glance.

2. WNET (2020)

“WNET in Review” uses viewer interaction to create a compelling story. One of the features we love is the ability for each viewer to navigate to the information they are most interested in. Allowing supporters to see the content they care about most increases their engagement with the report as a whole!

3. The Humane Society (2019)

The Humane Society’s annual report has so much to love: clear and concise info about the year's progress, compelling copy, and adorable animal pictures. Telling donor stories throughout connects the year’s events directly with the supporters reading along.

4. The American Kidney Fund (2019)

The American Kidney Fund uses eye-catching graphic design, donor and impact stories, and event pictures to communicate the impact they were able to make in 2019. The third page effectively summarizes their 2019 metrics and milestones by combining colorful illustrations and bolded statistics. By keeping the placement consistent and pairing it with in-depth information and stories thematically related, AKF is able to weave a picture of the year’s impact.

5. Rock the Vote (2018)

We are huge fans of Rock the Vote’s branding. With consistent messaging throughout and dedication to storytelling, they are experts at reaching their audience. To this end, the annual report does a great job of highlighting the partners that are so essential to increasing their reach. We love when groups emphasize the people power behind all the work they do.

6. Environment America (2018)

Environment America strategically incorporates vivid images of nature to delineate their various areas of interest. Not only are the pictures themselves beautiful, but it’s a great way to visually change the subject and keep readers engaged throughout.

7. Broadway Cares (2019)

Broadway Cares demonstrates the importance of consistency from year to year when creating your annual reports. When you have long term donors, you want to make sure they can easily access the information they’re looking for quickly. By hosting the information directly on their website (without downloads and with a convenient drop-down menu selection) patrons can track their impact over the years, no matter how long they’ve been donating.

8. Brookings Institution (2020)

The Brookings Institution Annual Report is comprehensive. One of its best features is how it weaves the narrative of “Rising to the Challenges in a Year of Crisis,” introduced in its letter from the president, throughout the report to combine storytelling with data-informed impact. This highlights how, in spite of a challenging year, they remained committed to producing a high volume of real-time, thoughtful analysis and practical policy recommendations.

Click here to download our guide to putting together an annual report for your organization that will impress and inspire your donors!