Online Donor Reports

Institutions looking to cut costs associated with printed annual reports, president’s reports, or donor honor rolls regularly turn to their websites.

“Let’s put it online!” is the knee-jerk response.

And it’s not a bad idea to put such reports online.  But once the decision is made to go electronic, few institutions implement with the same degree of design creativity and thoughtfulness as they gave the hard copy predecessor.  The final electronic product usually is not much more than a linked, scrollable page of names buried deep on the advancement section of the institution’s website.

But check-out Carleton College’s Annual Report on Giving.  Not only is video nicely integrated, but the site is clean and concise and provides stewardship information in the “Your Gifts At Work” section.  You can tell this site was well-devised, implemented, and that significant time and resources were applied.

The idea to put your donor reports online can be logical and helpful.  But think first about why you propose to go electronic.  Is it so that you can make the donor report more engaging, more flexible, more easily navigable, and more available to more donors?  Or is it to cut money from your budget?

I wonder what drove Carleton’s decision?


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