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How to optimize the lists in your nonprofit’s annual report

February 14, 2022
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Your nonprofit organization’s annual report should be full of valuable, important information like financial data, program updates, impact stories, your purpose, and plans for the future. In addition to these sections, you’ll need to include donor, board, and staff lists.

All nonprofit annual reports have these lists, and they are a great way to recognize your top donors and hardworking staff and board members. In this guide, we’ll walk through how you can put these lists together and organize them for readers.

Donor lists

The donor list in your annual report is a listing of people who contributed to your nonprofit (typically those who contributed over a specified dollar amount). There are two common ways nonprofits usually organize these lists: alphabetically or by donors’ level of contribution.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to include every single person who has given to support your purpose during the year. Many nonprofits set a minimum dollar amount for inclusion in the annual report to keep the donor list to a reasonable length. We recommend capping your donor list at:

  • One or two pages in an eight to 12-page report 
  • Three to four pages in reports longer than 12 pages 

To acknowledge and recognize all donors, consider recognizing smaller donors in other publications, such as your print newsletter. Rather than using the more expensive printed pages in the annual report, some nonprofits photocopy the full list and insert it into the report.

If you have several donors who wish to remain anonymous, you can list “Anonymous” once as the first entry in the list or you can include a brief statement at the beginning or end of the list thanking all the donors who wish to remain anonymous. If you have 12 donors who wish to be kept anonymous, however, you do not need to list “Anonymous” 12 times.

Board lists

This list includes your nonprofit’s current board members. The main list under the “Board of Directors” heading should include only the voting members of your board. If there is space, you can include headings for other categories of board members, such as non-voting, honorary, or advisory board members. To avoid any confusion, make sure not to mix the two so readers know who the legal directors of the organization are.

Staff list

Always list the executive-level staff in your staff list. This should include the: 

  • Executive director
  • Chief financial officer
  • Chief operations officer
  • Deputy directors
  • Senior vice presidents 

Depending on the size of your organization, you can also include the next layer of management. Many organizations choose to list all staff. It’s up to you and dependent on how much space you have available and how many staff members you have.

Including lists of donors, board members, and staff is essential to recognizing these individuals and maintaining transparency with your supporters. Be sure to format these lists in a clear, readable way so readers can understand the information you convey in your annual report. Keep in mind that many of these details are dependent on your nonprofit’s preferences, size, programs, and needs, so feel free to format your annual report in the way that makes the most sense for your organization and its supporters.


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