Show Me What You Got: Elevating Your Annual Report



Annual reports are the perfect opportunity to show the community what your district has accomplished throughout the year. An instrument of accountability, they inform community members about school aims, objectives, achievements, use of resources, and financial performance. Since annual reports can directly impact essential measures like funding, producing a strong annual report is key to your district’s success.


10 Ways to Make Your Annual Report a Success


1.) Emphasize the Vision Throughout the Year


Your annual report is a snapshot of what your district has accomplished throughout the year. The District’s vision is what drives your school’s objectives and what inspires people to support you. Faculty and student stories and results should demonstrate on different levels how you’re fulfilling that vision. 


2.) Focus on Accomplishments, not activities 


What were some of your biggest accomplishments last year as a school? What goals did you set and did you meet them? Do you have data that can back up the results of your efforts? The report should highlight the impact and results of your school..Inspire your audience with accomplishments directly related to your mission.


3.) Share Stories


Share the stories of your school over the past year using the voice of staff and students. Tap into the art of storytelling, appealing to your audience’s interest and emotions. Showcase how your school is different through the power of storytelling. 


4.) Use Infographics 


When collaborating with your design team on highlighting data to reflect your school’s success, infographics are key. Infographics are a clear way to highlight progress or point to future goals. Identify key metrics that highlight your success and develop them into infographics that are clean and simple yet effective.


5.) Make it Visual 


Many people are visual learners, meaning the layout, design, and use of colors and graphics are key to grabbing the eye. As your team puts together your annual report, it shouldn’t only contain data, it should reflect a balance of visuals and text. (photos, infographics, text, stories). Express as much as you can with visuals as opposed to words. 


6.) Write Catchy Captions


Now that you have great photos in your report, tell a story with your captions. Don’t just state what’s in the picture, tie the photo to an accomplishment. That way, if people read nothing but the captions, they will still know what is going on in the report. 


7.) Check the Donor List and Check it Twice


You would hate to sabotage a future donation because a donor’s name was misspelled in the annual report. If you are uncertain about a name, check with the donor. 


8.) Be Sure to Thank Everyone


Recognize the people, inside or outside your organization, who’ve contributed to your school’s success. Your annual report should encourage and inspire your audience to help move your school forward to reach new goals.


9.) Clear Calls to Action 


Once you have inspired readers with the great things your school has accomplished, conclude by telling them how they can help you do more. How can they support you with their money or time? Be clear about the best ways they can aide your district’s vision.  


10.) Get Inspired 

Get inspired by annual reports that catch your eye and implement those elements into your annual report. Like the layout or design? Or maybe you like the way they use imagery. Take that inspiration to the next level when developing your annual report. 


The below Seneca High Valley School NSPRA award-winning report shows strong imagery to elevate their story about a No Cost to Shop store for students in need. 

The American School of Madrid’s report shown below use of numbers and bold graphics emphasizes the statistics they are trying to highlight in a more impactful way. 

The Millbrook School does a great job of using student profiles and stories to reflect their academic success, as seen below. 

Still in need of ideas on how to elevate your school’s annual report? We are here to help!