A real digital annual report?

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One of the habits my boss from my days at SDRA got me into was taking pictures – of everything. The idea was a simple one  – it helps people visualize what you’ve tackled over the last twelve months. I got an email yesterday from our local art museum – one of the hidden jewels of our region in my opinion (says the art college graduate). It was something extremely simple as well that got me already things about the end of 2012.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfAbdKlc0ws?w=625]

Why am I writing about an end of the year report today? It’s better to be thinking about it at the beginning of the year than sometime in October when you realize you can’t properly quantify and report on what you’ve accomplished.

Even in the digital age, people want to see tangible proof of your activities. All of the tweets, blog posts and status updates you post are important, but sometimes you’re a drop of water blasting from an ever more powerful fire hose. It’s a lot easier to condense all of that information into something that’s a little more manageable.

The video above makes for part of a very compelling deliverable to donors and sponsors of the museum if they so choose.

An SD card (or DVD if you so choose) containing a piece similar to the one above showing the faces of the folks that went to your events throughout the year – in addition to short video pieces from folks like the museum’s director and curators talking in slightly more depth about certain issues. It could lead to a much cheaper way to deliver the annual report to your board and their interested parties. It’s also content for a single page (or section) on your site that contains links to the content produced for the deliverable:

  • All videos/interviews
  • PDFs containing budgets and more detailed information about projects

You could also link back to older pieces on the blog already written about the various projects, potentially encouraging more folks to poke around and become more familiar with your digital presence.

You may still decide to hold an annual meeting event and give it to attendees but you can also make sure more folks with access to your website have more information about exactly how you succeeded in the previous twelve months. Your fans on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, et. al., may also be willing to help share the page link with their friends – some of whom will probably not be as familiar with your efforts as you’d like them to be (at least until after they’d looked over all that stuff).

It also helps give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside you need every once in a while to know you’re accomplishing something and other are aware of it. It does help… and it’s not like it hasn’t already been considered by some larger organizations out there.

I’m sure there have to already be some pretty cool examples of this actually being carried out – whether it be for a local arts organization or a commercial district revitalization program – by smallers orgs. If you know of any that have a “year in review” type page, please share the links in the comments section below. I’ll see if I can’t find any out there and link to them on a page here as well.

There’s already a great sampling courtesy of the Chronicle of Philanthropy (and I’m personally a big fan of what the New York Public Library’s done in recent years).


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