Now that you have all the numbers crunched, the photos gathered, and the stories compiled, you can make a big fat check mark on your to-do list and take a nice deep breath… your annual report is finished!
Or is it?
What you have in your hands is a compilation of some of the greatest successes of your ministry over the last twelve months.
That’s far too important to set on top of that pile of papers on your desk you’ve been meaning to get to for the last year and a half.
Now it’s time to put your report to work by sharing these stories!
Here are some practical ways to share your ministry’s “wins” through your annual report:
- Leverage your (Electronic) Newsletter and E-mail (E-blasts) – A great way to highlight the completion of your annual report is in your weekly/monthly E-newsletter or E-blast. This gives you an opportunity to link directly to it on your website or encourage people to pick up a printed copy in the lobby, etc. Community Christian Church provides a great example of an E-blast focused on the annual report.
- The annual meeting – Celebrate the past twelve months in your annual congregational gathering. Play your video, share the photos, and show graphics of your findings. Print the report and physically hand it to your members to take home so they see it again and again as a reminder.
Bring in the people behind the numbers in the report to share a story with everyone in person. However you prefer to structure your meeting, be sure to celebrate!
Be aware, however, if your annual meeting is usually not well attended, do not rely on this avenue alone for sharing your annual report. That would be a huge mistake! (Not to mention a big waste of time/energy/expense in creating the report.)
- On your website – Sharing your report on your website can typically be done very easily. Just load the document and add a link, right? But this is one that can easily be underrated. Think for a moment about who most often visits your church’s website – potential visitors. If you are like most, a large percentage of your guests are making their first interaction with your ministry through your website. By offering them a snapshot of your previous year as a church body through your annual report, you are giving them insight into the DNA of your ministry – the big nuggets of who you are – right then and there. Load your report online and let people learn about your DNA.
(By the way, millennials love seeing this kind of information readily accessible. They value transparency because it builds credibility for your ministry just by making it publicly available.)
- On social media – After rolling this out church-wide, be sure to celebrate what God is doing in your church socially. Post it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter (you’re on Twitter, right?) and encourage all your pastors to share it. Get people talking! Here’s a great example from Dave Ferguson at Community Christian Church (way to go Dave!):
The point is really to celebrate – both having finished your report (whew!) but, more importantly, telling others what God is doing through your church.
After pulling everything together you will realize this isn’t so much about the time it takes to gather the data, to create the report, and to plan the meeting. It’s more about giving God the glory for how He is actively at work, and the opportunity to encourage generosity so that it becomes contagious. And that is something to celebrate!
How do you share and celebrate each year? I’d love to hear your ideas!