Love ‘em or hate ‘em: Why Your Social Enterprise Should Create a System for Annual Reports Now

4 min read

If you’re the type that scrambles during annual reports season, here’s why you should change your ways.

  1. Consistent reporting can help you scale your organization
  2. You will have a lens into your successes and shortcomings
  3. Giving your stakeholders regular information will keep them happy and informed

While it’s not always simple or fun to hunker down and create your annual report, it’s not that difficult to create a humming system for actionable, ongoing reporting. Try it out and you might be amazed by what your annual reports can do for you.

Goals come first

Setting data benchmarks and goals – whether monthly, quarterly or annually – is step one to creating your reporting strategy. If you don’t have a clear idea of what success looks like, you’ll never know the steps you need to take.

Setting data benchmarks and goals is step one to creating your reporting strategy. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself what you’d like your social impact organization to be accountable for. Is it a steady increase in sales or are you focused on increasing your company’s sustainability initiatives this year?

Whatever your organizational priorities may be, use them to guide the direction of your annual reports. Make sure you keep in mind that you should be tracking and regularly reporting on any goal that impacts your business.

Here are a few things we track at Prosper Strategies:

  • Website visitor behavior
  • Marketing lead to sales conversion
  • Percentage of sales closed vs. sales lost
  • Google Analytics insights
  • Social media performance and engagement

These marketing examples are a good starting point, but you might need to include benchmarks about stakeholders or production. We also recommend communicating company growth and purpose in your annual reports. Every organization is a little bit different. Work with your colleagues to find out what matters.

Find your data

One key frustration of compiling annual reports is not knowing where to find the information you need. Let’s revisit the marketing examples from above.

Most organizations put a lot of value in website visits — us included. Tracking website views and behavior gives you a look into what content is the most successful, as well as what contacts are on your site.

If your marketing team hasn’t set up Google Analytics yet, take a pen and put this right on top of your to-do list.

Google Analytics provides invaluable website data that can help you scale your business and figure out what comes next for your organization. Here are just a few of the many capabilities that Google offers:

  • A breakdown of where your traffic comes from – direct, organic, paid, etc.
  • The locations your traffic comes from
  • The behavior visitors take before exiting your site
  • How long your visitors spend on a certain page
  • Insight into your referrals from your social media channels and paid ads

Let’s also take a look at your social media and engagement. Do you use a social media management platform like Sprout Social? If you do, you know how easy it is to pull out the data you need. Here are some best practices to help you get even smarter with your ongoing social media management.  

By understanding where the important facts and figures are located before the end of the year, you’ll have much more time to interpret your data and make changes to your marketing along the way.

Create annual reports one month at a time

Now, the real work (and commitment) comes in. Remember that part where we said this would be ongoing?

If your reporting benchmarks aren’t ingrained in your day-to-day, you may need to make some internal changes.

First, get your whole team – marketing, sales and other departments – on board to track relevant data. Then you can keep a record of month-over-month patterns. At Prosper, we:

  • Set goals on a leadership level and share benchmarks with our team
  • Compile our data in Google Sheets so we can edit, add and assess the progress toward our goals regularly
  • Set an internal meeting every month to address progress and setbacks

That way, when it’s time for annual reports, you already have insight into the trends, pain points and successes your organization has experienced over the last year.

Are you ready to finally whip your annual reports into shape? Contact us today.

Our Social Enterprise Marketing Template can help your organization structure your annual reports

social enterprise marketing plan templateWhen it comes to annual reporting, strategic goals come first. Use our free Essential Social Enterprise Marketing Template to brainstorm goals and benchmarks that will help your organization structure your annual reports, scale-up and prosper.