🔥 Hot take: Annual reports really suck. Seriously. Any busy fundraiser knows that an annual report can take months to create and requires some serious elbow grease to track data, collect content, and gather insights into the successes of the previous year. So much data, so little time. We feel your pain.
🔥🔥 Even hotter take: Applying the year’s top social media, tech, creative, and cultural trends to your annual report will turn your time-suck yearly roundup into a seriously special storytelling tool that can be adjusted to measure the impact of your organization for years to come.
We’ve been tracking trends all year to bring you the best fundraising tips for generating generosity online. Think of those top trends as your guiding light in unpacking the darkness that was 2022. Because oof. That really happened.
Social Media Trends 📈
For those who are not chronically online, please (1) count your blessings and (2) consider these social media trends in your annual report! Did you dominate the digital marketing game in 2022?
The digital creator economy
Digital creators are more relevant than ever—but now, with the introduction of short-form video content on TikTok’s unique algorithm, TikTok virality is more accessible to average creators.
Did you rake in the big bucks with a legendary influencer/nonprofit online collab? If you did, analyze the success of your collab in your annual report. If you didn’t work with any creators this year, consider implementing this trend next year and adding it to your 2023 annual report.
📲 Example: Creator Averie Bishop, who has an impressive 862,000 followers on TikTok, posted a comedy video on her account that went viral (32 million views viral 🔥). The video, while hilarious, has raised cultural attention and fundraising dollars for The Miss America Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest providers of scholarships for women in the United States. When a powerful nonprofit and an influential creator team up, anything can be accomplished.
🚀 Action Item: Add a section in your annual report identifying digital creators who align with your nonprofit brand that you want to work with to uplift your work in 2023!
Reddit for fundraising (and memes)
Ok, we know what you’re thinking. But if you read our Rookie’s Guide to Reddit for the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising, you already know that meme culture has infiltrated literally everything. But beyond the memefication of America, Reddit is a phenomenal tool for community-building around shared interests. So get on Reddit, join the conversation, and get some quality inspiration for memes to add to your annual report, because why not?
Short-form video content
Here’s the plan: make your entire annual report into a 60-second elevator pitch. Yes, we’re serious. Pull your top stats and biggest impact stories and condense into clippable content. Short-form video content, led by TikToks and Instagram reels, is dominating the algorithm. Get in on the trend and raise awareness of your nonprofit by recording your 60-second annual report pitch and posting on the platform of your choice! And then repost on Reddit ;)
Tech Trends 📊
If you didn’t catch our recent blog about 2023 business and technology trends, we’re personally very hurt and offended. Luckily, we forgive easily, and have narrowed down the top tech trends for you to apply to your annual report ❤️
It’s so meta. Virtual reality continued to expand in 2022 and will present new opportunities for digital community-building and online engagement in 2023. What if you put your annual report into a virtual museum featuring exhibits from the previous year? Living in the past in the present… whoa.
We’re not going to ask how much you spent on DoorDash last year, but just know that same convenience and automation is all around us. Lean into the culture of convenience by uploading your annual report to your website for super easy supporter access. Offer a direct link to your annual report via a QR code, too.
Get your chatbot in on it
We’ve talked at length about why your nonprofit’s website should be using a chatbot, but how about greeting your website visitors with an invitation to view your annual report? Tease them with a piece of interesting data and launch them from supporters to donors.
Creative Trends 💅
Time to celebrate all of the marketing and design mojo your creative team loved in 2022!
Infographics are in
Yeah, they sound boring, but infographics are strategic storytelling tools that make data accessible! And with a free Canva account, you can easily design the infographics of your dreams with custom brand color and font guides and a trillion templates to get you started. Add infinite infographics to your annual report to thrill your supporters with data-driven insights.
Compelling storytelling through photos
Photos tell stories that language can’t convey (as a writer, the author endorses this statement!) Showcase the stories that make up the last year with the intentional use of photos to demonstrate your mission and impact. Your annual report is about to have a lot more color (and use a lot more ink to print—so save the trees and make it digital.)
Get candid with color
Don’t be afraid to lean heavily into the ethos of your nonprofit, your brand guide and creative preferences, to tell a bold color story with your annual report! Gone are the days of boring PDF documents that have no dazzle. Bring the drama with intentional colors to highlight the can’t-miss portions of your annual report.
Diversity and representation are always on trend
Make sure your DEIA policies and beliefs are translated into the creative strategy of your annual report. This means that the media and content that you feature in your report should reflect the diversity of the community that you serve. Be intentional with the images that you include. Representation and visibility matters, especially in your annual report.
Cultural Trends 🌎
A lot happened in 2022 that influenced the culture of philanthropy. Be sure to consider these cultural trends when assembling your annual report.
In 2022, the world started to take accessibility more seriously. And while we have a long way to go to reach equity for folks of all abilities, we’ve made some serious strides that should inform our annual reporting.
Conduct a mini accessibility audit of your annual report. Check out the international, fundamental standards for web content accessibility and explore the impact of accessibility on your annual report readers.
Intersectionality is key
The mutuality of our shared experiences make our identities interwoven with the world. Consider how this year’s most pressing global issues like climate change, racism, mental and physical health crises, and global conflict affected the work of your nonprofit. Look deeper than the immediate impact your nonprofit made and include an examination of intersectionality on a micro and macro level in your annual report.
Stress and anxiety should be taken seriously
2022 was a long, hard year. Let’s enter 2023 on a hopeful note, shall we? Consider the messaging and framing of your annual report. Is it possible to demonstrate the impact of your nonprofit through a lens of hope? In a world where we’re all experiencing frequent stressors that trigger our anxious thoughts, try to frame your annual report to inspire readers by the positive impact that your nonprofit made last year and all that you will accomplish in the years ahead.
Pitfalls to Avoid When Jumping on a Trend
Not honoring those who came before
Just because your annual report is a trendy digital property doesn’t mean there’s no historical context to consider. Don’t forget where you came from in the excitement of a new project.
How did it go before your nonprofit started? A year after your org was founded? How are other orgs doing? What kind of impact are you and your fellow orgs having as a whole?
We are in 2023, for Pete’s sake! No more putting on a happy face. No more sucking it up. No more brightsiding. So with all the good that you did, with all the positive impact you had on your community, we all know there was some stuff that went sideways. You don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty, but acknowledge the setbacks and oopsies—we’ve all been there!
Not acknowledging the team that made it all happen
You’ve come a long way, baby, but you didn’t do it alone. Get your team in on the fun, including them in social videos, cheering for raises and promotions, and congratulating them on programmatic wins.
Not taking the time to get it right
These are trends. The likelihood that you’re gonna get it all right from the get-go is absolutely nil. But if you’re jumping on one of these trends (or another one!), give yourself more time and space—and patience!—than you would if you were doing your normal annual report.
Key Takeaways for Trendy Annual Reports 🔑
- Social media influenced the impact of 2022 and is setting the tone for 2023. Use analytics to measure the success of your digital marketing in 2022.
- More is more when it comes to tech. More access, more reality, more opportunity, more community, more convenience. Evaluate how you leveraged the abundance culture in your 2022 fundraising program and hop on to the tech trend bandwagon for 2023 because it’s just getting started!
- Storytelling matters—and there are lots of creative ways to demonstrate impact in your annual report. Infographics, photos, color, and compelling media will all play a vital role in the messaging of your annual report.
- Addressing intersectionality is pivotal when it comes to philanthropy. Accessibility, mental health, and relevant social issues can be incorporated and/or addressed in your annual report to demonstrate how your nonprofit is meeting a wide range of community needs.