Quaker A-Z: K is for Knitting

Avoiding dropped stitches

Annual reports are often a cobbling together of bits from various people, groups or committees, with a bit at the front from the clerk or chair and then at the end from the treasurer or trustee with financial responsibility…. Even listing out all the people involved can make it sound uneven or incoherent.

It can be hard to ensure there aren’t gaps, or duplications – especially if you’re copying from previous years.

Ensure the language is clear. Consider if you might want to pull out some quotes to be used elsewhere. Social media such as your website or Facebook page, or fundraising – either to your own members or looking for outside funding.

Creating a quality pattern

It can be useful to decide on one aspect of your charity’s work to focus on each year. This may be obvious when you review the year because you spent a lot of time and energy on something.

Perhaps there is a social issue that has been everywhere this year – COVID, the cost of living crisis, war, or whatever has generated or redirected energy and interaction from your members/volunteers.

Or you may decide to look at your charity’s objectives and choose one part to focus on – for example with Quakers it could be one of the testimonies.

Having a focus or a plan ensures that you both know what’s missing and ask someone for input. Or what information was sent in that can be used elsewhere to keep the messages you are creating for your readers clear in this report.

Honesty is the best policy

If there have been problems or challenges this year acknowledge them. The openness and willingness to discuss them can provide an authentic look into your charity. This can encourage people who may be considering getting involved in some way – from new donors to new volunteers.

Explain how the charity dealt with the challenges, is preventing difficulties reoccurring or is changing to be able to tackle new problems as they develop.

If you said you were going to do xxx –  report on this, and even if you didn’t reach a goal explain what is happening, or how that goal isn’t a priority for the charity any more.

Weaving in all loose threads

Charities exist for a reason – so you need to report on your charitable impact. Explain any monitoring you do within the charity and your members. For example – if you are a faith organisation how are the various worshipping groups doing? If you’re a local community group – how is the group doing and what is it doing?

It is good to ask all subgroups and committees for feed back – using the focus you’ve decided for this year. That doesn’t mean you have to include it all – but it gives you source documents to pull from.

Now look outside – give context, what are the wider societal benefits of your charity existing and doing what it does? How would the surrounding community be worse off if you didn’t exist?

  • Are you allowing people to use your garden to find quiet moments?
  • Do groups who might find it difficult to find people willing to hire space to them use your building?
  • Have you partnered with a local group – such as a food bank to provide a collection point?
  • Are groups using your building because you’ve ensured the rooms are accessible, or you’ve provided facilities for blended sessions which allow the groups to reach others unable to meet with them in person?
  • Are members of your group active in other groups and ensuring cross pollination of ideas and energy?

Adding flourishes

Just text and numbers don’t grab peoples attention. Add in photos or diagrams – the total money donated to each cause, or how much money was raised/donated has increased over xxx years.

You can add in videos or more photos when putting a copy up on your website, with a link to the printable version.

  • Can you find photos of events or groups of people who belong to your charity?
  • Marching in a local parade or vigil?
  • Handing out leaflets or loading boxes of donations or working in the garden alongside each other?
  • Drinking coffee and talking with each other?
Picture of Wendrie Heywood

Wendrie Heywood

MBS Founder

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