With some minor variations, they follow a similar design language. Their reports are filled with different videos, infographics, animations, photos, and writing, but they use the same general format. This is a smart play, and one you should emulate. After the initial creation, the building blocks of the report can be repurposed. There’s no need to reinvent it every year, as is often done with printed reports. The ability to reuse the design and to archive it, in addition to zero print costs, makes it a better investment over a relatively short period of time.
Fulfill Expectations and Get ROI
You can use a Digital Annual Report to meet your organization’s commitment to inform investors, shareholders, donors, and other stakeholders. At its core, this is its primary function. However, the nature of information sharing has evolved, and to remain relevant, the presentation of your Annual Report should follow suit. Producing your report is a lot of work, and any organization would benefit from a return on that investment.
When you leverage your report to do more than merely meet expectations, it starts to produce additional value. You can send people a link to a specific page of the report that speaks directly to their interests. And when you can cater to someone's interests and personalize their experience, that's when you get results.
Improve Production Efficiency
A Digital Annual Report is created using the same type of Content Management System that’s used to build websites (such as Craft CMS), so multiple people can work on it at the same time.
For example, you could assign the director of each program to create the page(s) about their project and they can work on those pages without interrupting any other content creator. Each person can see the report coming together and be involved in how their portion of the report works with the other pieces. This leads to less revisions and increased productivity.
Edit and/or Augment After Publication
Even the most accomplished organizations miss a typo now and then. If you miss one or more in a printed report, there’s no fixing it. But with a digital report, you can correct mistakes at any time.
You can also update information throughout the year. We suggest you develop a schedule for regular updates and integrate it into your annual marketing schedule. If a project concludes partway through the year, or you have a big win, there’s no reason to hold back until next year to write about it and highlight it. Instead, clearly amend the information and then promote your success, pointing people to the report that already contains all of the background information.
The Tableau Foundation takes this idea to the extreme with their Living Annual Report. They describe it like this, “The Tableau Foundation's Living Annual Report shows you what we’re up to this week—not just what we did last year. Unlike traditional printed reports, our report, which updates weekly, allows anyone to interact with the data and ask follow-up questions.
We're sharing our report here to show that foundations and non-profits can move beyond the traditional annual report. With this approach, organizations can share the latest information and cut the time and costs of producing a traditional printed piece.”
We agree wholeheartedly with their approach.