Here are some helpful tips that I’ve gathered through the years on how NOT to create an annual report.

1. Make it over 20 pages, and an extremely hi-resolution pdf. Yep. the longer, the better, really.

2. No graphics on the cover, just a blue field.

3. Make the cover have boring stock art.

4. Make the cover have “unnecessary” “quotation” marks. Because that’s not indicative of the editing quality of the rest of the report, right?

5. Don’t put anyone who actually has been helped by your nonprofit on the cover. God forbid you should be personal or real.

6. Inside, make sure you have lots and lots of text. No call outs. No boxes. No pictures. Just text.

7. Make sure your graphs are as boring as possible. In fact,

8. Don’t even worry about financial transparency. I mean, it’s not like there are tons of nonprofit scandals around, right? It’s not like your nonprofit is getting audited right now, right? People trust you, right?

9. Don’t list all of your donors. Who looks for their name in an annual report, anyway?

10. Make sure there are no pictures of your team. Who wants to see the people who make it happen, anyway? Ditto for quotes from your team.

11. Whatever you do, don’t have links on your website to different parts of your annual report.

12. No humor. This is serious business here. We cannot joke about your cause, EVER.

13. When you get it printed, use someone you’ve never used before, give them absolutely no time to do the job, and don’t bother with proofs. Grainy photos, misspelled words, and run-on sentences all okay! Who has time to edit these days, right?

Follow these tips and you’ll be SURE to get an unreadable report. In fact, it might as well go straight from the printers to the pacific garbage patch!

Any other not-to-dos? I would love to hear your thoughts below! Also, if you want a free ebook I just made with some ways to do it right, sign up right here, and get it!