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4 Creative and Innovative Annual Report Examples

Is your annual report pulling enough weight? Peruse these stellar examples to serve as inspiration for your organization’s next publication.

Annual Report

By Katie Bridges

Annual reports are essential for organizations — they communicate the year’s successes, explain to donors how their gifts are being used and, most importantly, inspire future giving.

But really good annual reports go beyond these “must dos.” Really good annual reports do more than show and tell — they engage the reader through compelling stories, captivating design and forward-thinking interactivity, all while showcasing the culture and the embodying the vision of the organization.

Need some inspiration for your own annual report? Here are some of the best annual report examples and what you can learn from them.

The Report: Girls Who Code

As an organization intent on closing the gender gap and attracting young women to the field of technology, it’s important to have an impeccably designed site and an extremely of-the-moment brand — and it’s also important that both of these trickle down into the organization’s annual report. We appreciate how Girls Who Code’s 2019 digital annual report serves as an effective extension of the brand: It’s bright, funky and uber-appealing to youth, and offers a smooth and “hip” user experience. Design elements from the main site find their way into the microsite’s design, keeping things consistent, clear and meaningful.

The Takeaway: Allow your brand to shine through, choosing thoughtful design elements that create a consistent experience.

The Report: Basser Center for BRCA

Since your audience includes both scientists and laymen and your subject matter can be quite very dense and academic, medical annual reports can be tricky. That’s certainly true of an organization accelerating innovations in hereditary cancers. Basser’s 2019 digital annual report, however, employed interactive elements to illuminate key data and and married that with of-the-moment news, patient stories and profiles of compelling individuals. The result is a visually engaging and navigable experience that’s robust enough not to lose the reader in the minutiae of research.

The Takeaway: Approach your microsite or digital publication from a storytelling perspective, serving up a mix of editorial content intended to engage and inspire.

The Report: Boston Children’s Hospital Trust

Donors want to understand how their gifts are impacting the organization they’re supporting, and not just in broad strokes. With that in mind, Boston Children’s Hospital Trust’s 2020 donor impact report is organized around the specific ways donors helped the hospital, using section headers such as “You Comfort,” “You Shelter,” “You Build” and “You Empower.” Each section then features a specific patient story and a by-the-numbers look at how many children had benefited from donors’ gifts.

The Takeaway: Know what your readers are hoping to get out of the report and allow that to guide the mechanics of your publication.

The Report: Boston University

When Boston University completed an ambitious $1 billion capital campaign at a grand total of $1.85 billion, there was much to celebrate — and much to communicate. To ensure that readers honed in on an important message — an effusive thank-you from the university president — the campaign’s digital impact report’s splash page stripped away the typical trimmings, focusing all of the reader’s attention on the message at hand. Arrows and an element of choose-your-own-adventure then guide the reader throughout the rest of the experience.

The Takeaway: Grab attention and set a tone from the get-go with a clever, interactive opening.

Rethink Your Annual Report

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Katie Bridges Overlay Blue
Katie Bridges Senior Editor

Katie has almost a decade of editorial experience, spending most of those years as an editor at regional magazines. A Georgetown University grad, she helps guide digital and print content programs from concept to completion for C/A clients such as Vanderbilt Health, Niagara Falls USA and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has written for Garden & Gun, Washingtonian and Arkansas Life, among others.

The mother of two young girls, Katie can most often be found on a hiking trail with her family (Sedona’s a favorite). She’s a Southerner through and through, and the only member of the C/A team who uses the word “y’all” with abandon.

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