The Power of the Annual Report By Randon Samelson
The Annual Report is a ministry’s single most important and powerful tool!
By Randon Samelson ~
At COUNSEL & CAPTIAL we believe the annual report of Christian Churches and ministries is the single most important and powerful tool they have to tell their story. To incentivize them to pay closer attention to their reports, we decided to do something a bit unusual – we put on an annual report contest that included a $50,000 cash award to the winner.
Every Christian ministry we know wants meaningful community with their donors. Not one Christian ministry we know believes they have achieved this. In our experience, the greatest missed opportunity by ministries to achieve community is the failure to consistently produce a meaningful annual report.
We want to change that. So we held a competition. We published criteria and guidelines about what makes an annual report effective and powerful, and we offered free guidance to ministries. We invited any organization whose work is clearly commanded by Scripture to participate – all they had to do was send us their annual report.
Churches and ministries of all scopes and sizes applied, and our selection committee carefully read through each report. We provided written critiques and counsel to the top ten finalists, and $50,000 of capital to the winner.
We were very excited that Plant With Purpose, a Christian nonprofit that transforms the lives of rural farming families around the world, won our Annual Report Prize last year. Working in seven countries, Plant With Purpose focuses on environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal.
Plant With Purpose produced a powerful annual report, beginning with an honest, relevant, and meaningful letter from the Executive Director. Their report demonstrated that their ministry has clear focus and that their operations are limited to achieving their specific goals. They also included detailed financial statements about revenue and expenses, as well as graphs and charts denoting progress on critical measurement.
We were impressed, and we imagine the audience and donors of Plant With Purpose were too.
Plant With Purpose used the Annual Report prize money to create and fund ten new Sustainable Development Groups (SDG). Each SDG consists of 25 rural farming families and individuals who are equipped to restore their land and their lives. Thus, the $50,000 award enabled 250 families to implement sustainable agriculture techniques that help them grow more, eat better, increase their income, and heal the environment.
These families became twice as likely to save money and have emergency reserves as nonparticipants, and because Plant With Purpose partners with local churches, these same families were introduced to the hope and purpose found in God’s love.
We are thrilled that the prize money from our Annual Report contest had such an immediate and inspiring impact on hundreds of families in need. That’s why COUNSEL & CAPITAL is holding the same contest again this year. The only difference is that this time, instead of offering one prize, we’re offering three.
Ultimately, it is our hope that these prizes lead to more effective communication between ministries and donors, which in turn will lead to greater Kingdom impact. And so we humbly invite all Christians – churches, organizations, and individuals – to consider participating in our Awards or partnering alongside us.
To learn more about what is happening in 2017 – follow this link: The 2017 COUNSEL & CAPITAL Contest.
Randon Samelson is the founder of COUNSEL & CAPITAL, a nonprofit “investment bank” serving Christians pursuing biblical priorities, free of charge. He has forty years of investment and nonprofit leadership experience and is the author of the book Breakthrough: Unleashing the power of a proven plan.
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