Climb to the Top of the Corporate-giving Ladder
Your annual report doesn't have to be big, flashy or copy-heavy. You can make it image-intensive, playful or conceptual, but it has to appear credible and make a professional case for why anyone should support you. For instance, here's a great example of a nonprofit's annual report copy that packs a compelling and business-like punch:
"What would Mother Hale want us to do? This is the question we often ask ourselves when we are faced with decisions that affect the beautiful children playing within the comforting walls of the brownstone on 122nd Street. Before making a decision, we remind ourselves of the mission of Hale House and the wisdom of our legendary founder, 'Mother' Clara Hale.
As we strive to follow her lead, we believe we are, first and foremost, caretakers of the organization. We have been entrusted with a 35-year-old legacy. With prudent oversight from the Board of Directors and the expertise of Hale House's dedicated staff, we will lead Hale House into a future of positive growth."
-- Hale House (The entire report is available online at www.halehouse.org.)
Remember to keep the design clean, yet eye-catching, and ensure your copy speaks in clear, succinct language that makes a strong case -- both should leave an indelible appeal in the reader's mind. With a professional, well-articulated, credible and compelling annual report, your organization is primed to convince a corporate giving officer to turn his head and company's support your way.
Sarah Durham is principal and founder of Big Duck Studios, a New York City-based communications firm that works exclusively with nonprofits. Ali Kiselis is Big Duck's public relations manager. Both are frequent contributors to FS Advisor. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.