How to write a report

 Reporting and documentation play an important role in the effective functioning of NGOs, VOs, CBOs ... It helps in sharing the project outcome with donors, support agencies, government functionaries, well-wishers, and like-minded people. An effective reporting and documentation system will help the organization in its image-building efforts among its stakeholders. It also enhances the credibility of the organization within society.

There are two types of reporting, namely 

  1. Internal (intra-organizational) reporting and
  2. Ppublic reporting (program and financial).
Internal reporting 
Internal reporting involves collecting information for internal use. These reports are not designed to be made public and may include confidential information. These reports can discuss efficiency, job performance, and other aspects of employee activity that may be of concern. Many organizations also support whistle blowing activity, and encouraging employees to file reports if they suspect that activities may be violating the law or organizational policy. For instance, an accountant could express concern about the financial reports of another branch of the organization or an employee could report a staff who was behaving inappropriately
Many scholars argue that the explicit public nature of nonprofit action and the tax subsidy to the voluntary sector invites public reporting to the government and citizens. In the corporate sector also various public reporting initiatives have begun. These reports are normally called the annual report or the sustainability report.

Annual Report

Trusts and Societies are not required by law to produce Annual Reports. NGOs under Section 25 of Companies Act are required to publish Annual Reports. However, organizations that desire to practice norms of transparency and accountability should make their Annual Report for the corresponding financial year within eight months of the end of the financial year. The Annual report should be widely disseminated to stake holders and be available in the public domain. 

The Annual Report should clearly describe what the organization is trying to accomplish and what are its strategies for making it happen. It should also list the organization's capabilities for achieving its mission, and state its objectives and how it measures its progress. The annual report gives a broad overview on what the organization has accomplished during the year.

Components of Annual Report 

Annual reports are used to review the work the organization has done over the past year, discuss the new avenues of work, and define the rationale behind the programming decisions. In general, the annual report has the following components: 

  1. About the Organization (in brief)
  2. Main Objectives
  3. Vision
  4.  Major Activities 
On the first page, the annual remarks/ welcome note of the project director can come. The next five to eight pages can have the details of the programs conducted/ organized by the organization in the particular year. Some statistical highlights can also be shown. Then the financial statements of the organizations can follow. A page on the governing board and legal status of the organization can also be mentioned. In recent years, to have more credibility and accountability, details of staff salary is also given in the annual report. The final page before the cover page contains information of all the donors.

The basic format of the annual report given by credibility alliance is given below:
  1. Chairperson's Message
  2. Message from Executive Director
  3. About the Organisation
  4.  Vision, Mission, and Core Value 
  5. Programmes 
  6. Governance 
  7. Finance
  8.  Future Plan 
  9. Gratitude
  10. Appeal for Support for the Organisation’s Work 


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