Great Ideas in Communications: Online Annual Reports

May 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

OGF asked Kim St. John-Stevenson, communications officer at the Saint Luke’s Foundation, to share thoughts on their online annual reports. Read the excerpt below and the full article in OGF Connection.

Kim St. John Stevenson

What drove the foundation’s decision to produce an online annual report?
Two years ago, the foundation began a major focus “telling the stories” of the organizations in which we invest. We do that in two ways: by telling their stories ourselves and by empowering them with resources and funding to share the power of their own stories. We believe the story of the Saint Luke’s Foundation is much more powerful when told through the eyes of the nonprofits we support.

What are the biggest advantages?
In this era of social media and instantaneous information, the electronic annual report has opened our eyes to the possibilities of creating “living documents” that promote both the work of our grantees and the community transformation we make possible through our grant funds. By inviting community comments in the documents, we were able to create a timeless and ever-changing testament to the good work our grantees do, every day. The online, interactive report was created using the same web platform/content management system that the foundation’s website is created in, which allows for a seamless way to make content changes as necessary. Additionally, most annual reports are obsolete the moment they are printed. A dynamic format enhances the shelf life of the report and provides a unique opportunity to add and update stories on an ongoing basis. By not printing a report, you are essentially being “green.”

What advice do you offer others contemplating such a move?
Do your homework and look at models of reports that have been done. There are varying levels of interactivity, so if you are considering this kind of report, talk to others who have done the kind of report you desire and find out everything you can about their experiences. You also want to be sure you have a great, trusted partner for the project, as you will be working closely together to bring an online report to life.

Check out the Saint Luke’s Foundation’s interactive, online reports: 

Check out other online reports of OGF members:

The George Gund Foundation

Burton D. Morgan Foundation

W.K. Kellogg Foundation


Entry filed under: Communications, Core Competencies.

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