Doing the Most Good, Digitally
It's hard to deny the need for change when it’s staring you straight in the face. That's how the need to transition the Salvation Army's annual report to digital-only occurred to Maj. George Hood, the organization's national community relations and development secretary.
One day, about two years ago, the years' worth of print annual reports sitting in the storage room in Hood's office prompted a change. Hood says he scratched his head and thought, "In this age of instant communication online, we could save a lot of money and be far more efficient and get much broader distribution by going 100 percent to a virtual annual report."
In the past, the organization had sent its annual report, as most organizations do, in the mail to key donors, both corporate and major. And for the past five or six years it's offered a downloadable annual report on its Web site — basically a printable version of the mailed annual report.
Making the annual report digital is a combination of efficiency, conservation and finding people at the point where they are receptive to receiving information, Hood says. And that's now electronic.
"We've really committed to an interactive, viral annual report," he explains, "and no longer will print paper annual reports."
Diane Fannon, principal at The Richards Group, the Dallas-based firm that does branding and marketing for the Salvation Army, adds that going digital with the annual report underscores the organization's tagline "Doing the Most Good."
"If we're accountable for everybody's donations and doing the most good, having [the annual reports] sit in Maj. Hood's closet is not doing the most good," she says.
Hood planted the seed, and The Richards Group took the idea and ran with it. What it came up with was like going from night to day. It was the first time the agency had ever created a 100 percent digital annual report with videos. But the Salvation Army always tells stories in its annual report, so video was a great way to tell those stories in three dimensions, Fannon says.