While the church annual report may not be the most glamorous thing you create all year, it does have one of the largest potentials to share stories of what the Lord has done at your church and inspire people to continue to invest in your mission. So, if you’re tempted to throw together a quick one-pager that has attendance numbers and call it your church annual report, let me stop you there.
A well-designed and strategic church annual report goes beyond year-end reporting numbers to tell stories of what God is doing. It’s a way to connect your mission, your yearly goals, and plans for the future all in one appealing piece. While this piece should hold a lot of weight, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Take a look at these eight tips for creating a church annual report.
Tips for Your Church Annual Report
1. Tie Everything Back to Your Mission and Goals in Your Church Annual Report
This report should focus on what was accomplished this past year, so if you set goals for the year, that should be reflected. Also, make sure that everything you include serves a purpose that fits within the mission of your church. Call this out and highlight it where possible.
We love this example from Water’s Edge Network.
2. Focus on the Right Church Metrics for Your Church Annual Report
Don’t simply add in numbers for the sake of adding numbers. Instead, focus on the numbers that are important to your church, and organize them in visually appealing charts and graphs. Here are a few metrics to consider including:
- Overall attendance
- Attendance by worship services
- Specific event attendance
- New members
- Small group growth
- Tithes and offerings
- Benevolence ministry numbers
- Number of volunteers at specific events
- Missions support
- Number of people sent out on missions
3. Inspire Readers Through Storytelling in Your Church Annual Report
Once you have chosen the numbers to include, make it about more than that. Share stories of life change and impact that are connected to those numbers. Include the testimonies of new believers. Share about a local mission trip or project. Make the numbers real to people.
Bonus: Be sure to include photos and videos where applicable to any stories you tell.
Take a look at how the Village church does this here.
4. Create Compelling Graphics for Your Church Annual Report
A strategic church annual report will be visual. Create appealing graphics that enhance the layout and add to the stories. Be sure to check out Sharefaith Media to make this easy.
5. Dedicate a Section of Your Church Website to Your Church Annual Report
Your church website is one of the greatest tools you have for ministry. Whether you create a pdf or a full-blown webpage for your church annual report, make sure it is visible and easily accessible on your site.
Take a look at how Beltway Park did this here.
6. Promote the Church Annual Report
After finishing the report, don’t just assume people will know it exists. Actively work to get the word out and help people to engage with this important piece. Here are a few ways that you can promote it:
- Announce it from the pulpit
- Create a social media campaign and link your church website
- Email it out to all members (Bonus: email it out to new members throughout the year as well)
- Include a copy in giving statements
- Hand it out in small groups
7. Include Calls to Action in Your Church Annual Report
After each section in your church annual report, be sure to include a call to action. What do you want people to do after they read it? For example, after a section on tithes and offerings include a button that says “give now.”
8. Use the Results of Your Church Annual Report to Plan for Next Year
Finally, this is not just a pretty looking report, this should be your map to planning out the next year. Use the metrics, stories, and reactions to make plans and set goals for the following year.
If your church annual report reveals less-than-ideal numbers in your giving section, discover how the right online giving software can increase tithes and offerings at your church. Learn more here.