The Powerful Impact of a Well-Designed School Annual Report

School leaders know what sets their school apart and make them a special place for their students. Schools that embrace the value of sharing their bright lights will find that a great multipurpose way to share that information is through an annual report.

A well-crafted annual report is useful all year long and sparks meaningful conversations about your school's identity, strategy, direction, and purpose.

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•  Showcases school's activities throughout the preceding year,

•  Provides information on the health of your school community, and

•  Highlights your school goals and strategies.

A well-designed annual report becomes the foundation for all of your PR and fundraising materials, grant applications and reports by effectively communicating your value to a wide-range of stakeholders, including donors and volunteers.


Uses: Share with visitors, prospective students' families, potential donors and volunteers, faculty/staff interviews, and with those you'd like to build a deeper relationship.


Quick Tips

  • Design.  Clean, well-designed layout with open space, consistency in design, and a table of contents gives readers an idea of what to expect in the report and lets them find specific areas of interest. Find excellent examples for layout by finding magazines whose style suits your school identity.
  • Images.  Unlike your standard report, it will contain more graphics and photos than text.
  • Personalize.  Your annual report reflects your school's identity to help readers to connect with your mission, use photos from your school's events, photograph what the past year's donations have created to help stakeholders and donors see where their support is going and to help them identify with the children served. Include quotes from students and families help to give the photos context and provide a powerful message that demonstrates the impact of the support.
  •  Data can quickly show the magnitude or impact of a program, using data effectively can give stakeholders a clear look at how much your school does, who it serves, and why continued support is essential.
  • Bonus Tip: A strong color scheme can be used to visually segment topics or categories of information, items to include in your annual report can be Family Programs, Student Programs, Community Engagement, Community Service Projects, and Professional Development. The color consistency can help readers identify the areas that interests them when they are displayed on a page with other topics, or used consistently within data graphics as a visual label.

Recommended Reading: "The BrandED Difference" by Eric Sheninger