You could be forgiven for thinking: “Surely it’s not that time of year again?! ”
[Tweet “Annual reporting time seems to roll around faster each year.”] If writing the Annual Report, Annual Review, Report to Donors or other yearly report is your bugbear then follow these top tips.
Get your ducks in a row
Make sure you know who is responsible for what area and create a spreadsheet with who needs to do what by when.
Lasso an executive sponsor
Make sure everyone knows that you have an executive who is backing your every move. Everyone knows you have to write the annual report but no one has time to do their bit or at least not in a timely manner. If you have a C-suite sponsor behind you, then you can wave some carrot and stick at your recalcitrant contributors.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
You cannot do it all. No, you really can’t. So make sure that everyone knows who is responsible for what and spend your time ensuring they stick to the agreed schedule.
Your schedule is your friend. You don’t want to write your annual report by committee but do have at least a preliminary meeting with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure agreement on the report outline and the schedule.
Appoint an editor (not you) to go through and ensure consistency of tone, spelling, grammar and style. If you’ve ever had to coordinate a report for your organisation then you’ve probably found you’ve had to get several (or in some cases, dozens of) people to write “their bit” of the report. When it’s all finally come together, you have a mix of US and Australian spelling, content from people who can write and those who just think they can, a LOT of jargon and bits that are too long and others that aren’t long enough. Hand it over to an editor. You may choose to appoint an external editor. Sometimes your stakeholders will take notice of an external consultant when they happily ignore the internal comms team.
Use our handy checklist
After hundreds of annual reports for government, education institutions, not-for-profits, public companies and others we’ve learned a thing or two about lists, schedules and stakeholders. If you would like a copy of our checklist, please fill out your details below and it will be winging its way to you, toot sweet.