Several years ago, I attended a seminar in New York by a company called Giving Rocket. This company gave me many tools as a pastor on budgeting, online giving, bi-annual giving challenges, Easter and Christmas offerings, saying “thank you” to first and second-time givers, annual reports and many other tools that helped our church increase our giving. We already had a great base of givers that were generous, but these tools helped us tap into those that were not giving and those that were already givers, how they could give more to the Kingdom. Although I could highlight many items about giving, in this blog, I only want to focus on annual reports.
Annual reports have been a great way to celebrate everything God has done in our church. What I have learned is that an annual report is not just about money. Yes, giving should be celebrated and top of the house numbers should be shared, but the majority of your report should be celebrating all the great things that happened because people gave.
Although there are many things I include in our annual report, here are five things I never leave out:
- Letter/video from the senior pastor
- Water and Spirit Baptisms (include pictures and testimonies)
- Special Events (ie block parties, friends day)
- First, second and third-time guest numbers
- Financial overview of our four areas of giving
Here is an example of one of our annual reports – https://www.faithtabernacle.com/annual-report-2017/
Digital vs Print
The first few years I did a hard print copy and mailed to every member. I found that this was expensive and not everyone was able to access it throughout the year. I recommend your annual report being digital and linked on your website. The advantages to a digital report are that it saves you money by not printing and it allows members and guests to see the great things that are happening at your church.
One great resource I have used for our church is a company called Church Fuel. (www.churchfuel.com) Here is what they say about annual reports:
What should go on your annual report?
- Stories. Make sure your report doesn’t look like a financial report or a business presentation. Tell stories of what God did in the lives of real people. Remember, facts may inform but stories will inspire.
- Pictures. Pictures tell stories, so make sure you fill your report with lots of them.
- Numbers. If you track attendance, giving, baptisms, or groups, create some charts to show the numbers. There are a LOT of people in your church who care about this.
- Plans. Your annual report provides a great opportunity to cast vision for the future. Lay out some of the plans and goals for the coming year.