How to Get Your Annual Report Read Online

How to Get Your Annual Report Read OnlineLet’s see a raise of hands for you nonprofits that publish a PDF download as the Web version of  your annual report. Thought so…way too many.

Remember, PDF’s are just a downloadable/printable version of something you’ve designed for print in most cases. Back to Nonprofit Marketing 101: Most design for print readers doesn’t work online. It’s just like putting on a blindfold.

If you really want audiences to see and digest the report, make it easier for them to do so. Take a cue from the University of Richmond(UR) with it’s new online catalog.

Higher ed marketer Bob Johnson, who brought this great model to my attention, lauds UR for making it easy for catalog readers to find what they want, right from the first page. It’s the equivalent of a table of contents, but in a narrative form that is a better fit with online reading habits while effectively highlighting the key points of entry for students.

Johnson points out UR’s request for feedback right on the home page. To me, this emphasis on feedback show’s how UR values its base (students) — and that comes through to the end-user. In addition, this interactive discussion enables UR to fine-tune the online catalog to work as best as possible for the students,and that’s who it’s for, right?

Think about who your annual report (and other marketing content) is really for, and create an online version that makes them want to dive in.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 23, 2008 in Annual Reports, High-Impact Websites, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment
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  • While I agree that nonprofits can do a much better job at putting their annual report content online, I would still recommend offering the PDF too. So many of the online versions require TONS of clicking around and are not very skimmable — it’s often easier to just skim through the PDF. I realize that argues for simply doing a better job on the web pages and not so much for the value of the PDF per se, but I do like the option to download a single file for viewing later (but I despise it when they break the report into multiple PDFs!)

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