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What is Included in a Nonprofit Annual Report?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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A nonprofit annual report is required to include contact information for the nonprofit organization by law and it typically includes other information and data that will help people understand what the organization does and how they can contribute to it. Annual reports are made available through the offices of these organizations and are often published on their websites. In addition, donors are typically sent annual reports to keep them up to date.

Legally, a nonprofit annual report has to list the name and address of the organization, along with the names of its officers, the lengths of their terms, and information about when and where the board meets. This information provides members of the public with a basic overview of the organization. It also provides an opportunity to attend public board meetings. People who are interested in seeing the operations of a nonprofit for themselves are usually interested in attending such meetings.

Typically, the nonprofit annual report also goes over the mission and function of the organization and talks about what it has done in the last year. Accomplishments are noted and discussed and the annual report may project into the future with ideas for future activities. The nonprofit annual report also includes financial information including an opinion letter from an accountant to verify that the organization's finances appear to be in order and balance sheets showing sources of income and how the money was spent.

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A donor list is typically included, with individuals and organizations being acknowledged for in kind, cash, and other types of donations on the list. A letter from the head of the nonprofit is also enclosed, usually as an introduction to the nonprofit annual report. The letter may highlight notable accomplishments from the last year, relay anecdotes that may be of interest to donors, and remind people that their contributions to the organization have value.

A well written nonprofit annual report acts not only to provide people with information, but as an advertisement for the organization. It encourages people to donate and provides them with information that will help them feel more comfortable about donating, such as proof of third party oversight and a demonstration of how donated funds and goods are used. The report may include an enclosure that people can use to mail donations after reading the report and it can list publications put out by the organization and provide an order form for people who want to read the organization's magazines, books, and other publications.

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