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Five Innovative Ways to Tell Your Organization's Story

With summer in full swing and July squarely in our rear view mirror, many of us are either winding down our fiscal years, or just starting new ones... which means it's annual report season! Traditional printed, perfect-bound annual reports are increasingly giving way to a rise in digital and interactive reporting tools as the web becomes a more natural and accessible vehicle for telling our non-profit stories. I've found five innovative and exciting examples of how some people are telling their companies' stories. The range of reports really runs the gamut-- some slickly designed, others more irreverent-- but what unifies them all is their focus on telling a compelling story with engaging content.


IDEO, the famed design firm worked with the San Francisco School system to redesign their cafeterias. Their report does a great job of using interesting scrolling effects to guide the user through the narrative they are trying to tell. They also do a great job incorporating video and audio content, making it an immersive experience, almost like a digital exhibit in a museum.

Cards Against Humanity

So this example is probably going to offend some people... and that's probably the point. Card Against Humanity is a decidedly non-politically-correct version of the popular game Apples to Apples. It has been extremely successful in the game industry after a very successful kickstarter campaign. Cards Against Humanity launched a campaign to raise money for small education projects by selling limited editions of their game at a pay-what-you-can model, with all proceeds going to a fund for these projects. Very much in the spirit of their game and their fanbase, their annual report is predictably hilarious, probably offensive, surreal, but also really effective in illustrating the impact and success of the campaign. They also make great use of embedded background videos.


We all know them... But Kickstarter does a good job of curating their projects and presenting them in a dynamic and streamlined way. What's interesting is that this report doesn't boast their numbers (which they've got in spades as the big fish of the crowdfunding world). Rather, it's a celebration of innovative and exciting ideas.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

This is probably the most relevant to the non-profit world. The Greater Chicago Food Depository wasn't content with simply uploading a PDF of their annual report to their website, they created an integrated video archive of small documentaries showing their impact in all the programmatic areas in which they work. This report was produced by See3 Communications, a media consulting company that works with non-profits.

Calgary Stampede

Housed in a historic rodeo stadium, The Calgary Stampede is an organization inextricably linked to the identity of its host city, Calgary, Alberta in Canada. In the wake of massive flooding in Southern Alberta which threatened the stadium, the Calgary Stampede released this community report that traces the organization's response to the natural disaster and their vision for the future of their space. The report follows in line with several other reports in this list with a long, scroll-wheel based storytelling navigation. However this report adds a fantastic and engaging timeline of the emergency response along with charming animations and illustrations to keep the mood hopeful and cheery, in spite of the serious nature of the floods.