What are Donor Impact Reports?

Digital Fundraising

Donor Reports present a great opportunity to share organizational wins and losses throughout the year. Annual nonprofit reports are great for the big picture impact of the organization, however they only come once a year. An annual cadence of reporting is not great for keeping donors engaged throughout the year which is where donor impact reporting comes in. 

Mid-year or quarterly Donor Reports are a great way to share the impact of a donor’s gift and to show donors how their gift is making an impact. Donor Reports are a great way to keep donors engaged throughout the year and help with the stewardship of larger supporters. 

These reports can be an efficient way to communicate transparency with supporters and show appreciation. If done correctly, these reports can also be used to pull in new donors if set up behind an email lead capture to get access to them (more tips on growing your email list). 

What should be included in a quarterly Donor Report?

The goal of the report is to communicate where things are and how a donor’s support is helping with the work of the nonprofit. Donors should feel like they are getting insider information unique to their commitment as investors in the organization. An interesting comparison is how public companies have quarterly earnings calls with investors. The following are some ideas for what to include but consider what your donors are interested in when designing a report. 

  1. A short summary from the CEO and/or any key officers.
  2. Updated snapshot of the current year’s target and how the impact is tracking toward the goal.
  3. Program summary of what is going well and where the nonprofit is focusing to improve.
  4. New innovations or tests projects the organization is running.
  5. An anecdote that illustrates the story of one stakeholder being helped by the organization’s work.
  6. Highlight of a current donor and why they supported the work. 
  7. Emphasize gratitude for existing support. Add a list of donors who have given in the current year and how their gift has impacted the organization.
  8. Top-line financial narrative depending on the time of year.
  9. The Ask or Challenge. Be honest about where help is needed, this can open the opportunity for donors to potentially support and become a part of the narrative. 

What format should a donor report be in? 

A donor report should be in a format that is easy to read and share. A PDF is the most common format for donor reports. However, there are no rules for how to create and share this information, here are some ideas for donor report formats: 

1. Email summaries with attached graphics to make it easy to digest. The email can come from the CEO or head of development to make it more personal. 

2. Private video summary. Create a short narrative for the CEO or representative and make 10 minute video that summarizes how the organization is doing. This can also be a great way to include an actual testimonial from a stakeholder. It is also easier to track if people are watching the video if you are using YouTube or Vimeo to host the video. 

3. Re-purpose an annual report template in Canva to build a quarterly Donor Impact report. This can help with visual consistency and ability to reference annual goals. 

4. Podcast format. Anyone can create a podcast (here is how nopnrofits can create one) and it might be easier to have someone interview a C-level employee about how the nonprofit is doing then share the audio with donors. Consider the outline above for ideas to guide the discussion narrative. 

5. Dashboard format. Create a Data Studio dashboard that lets your team select the date range and create a PDF (data studio impact report). Then create a quick email summary of the top insights for donors.

What are some examples of Donor Reports? 

There are a number of examples of Donor Reports that organizations have shared. Most templates and examples are based on annual reports that take significant work. The objective should not be to create one of these every quarter, but rather a lightweight report that helps a fundraising team with donor stewardship. 

Here are a few examples of donor reports:

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