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Donor Impact Report: How To Write One and Win Over Donors

Author: Sonia Urlando
March 31, 2023
🕑 8 min read

You and your team have put in the hard work of growing a donor network, collecting donations and championing your nonprofit’s mission. With those donations helping your nonprofit transform the world for the better, how can you shout it from the mountains? Create a donor impact report! 

A donor impact report shows donors that their gifts are making a meaningful difference for your nonprofit and the community that you serve. They can also draw in more supporters!

Summing up every hard-earn donation and accomplishment into one report can feel like a big undertaking. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

We’ll show you everything that you need to know about creating a high-quality donor report that’ll help you build a closer relationship with donors and inspire them to keep contributing

What’s a donor impact report?

A donor impact report is an account of all the donations that a nonprofit received over a period of time and what was accomplished with these funds. 

Donors want to know that they can trust your organization to use their financial gifts to further your mission. That’s where donor impact reports come in! By creating this report, you can reassure donors that their donations are being used thoughtfully and are making a difference. 

These nonprofit reports can include:

  • Total amount of donations you received
  • Number of people helped
  • Month by month breakdown of where contributions went
  • Graphs and visuals

Donor reports let contributors see the impact of their donations while promoting accountability and transparency for your nonprofit.

How often should you send a donor impact report? 

Typically, nonprofits send donor impact reports quarterly or yearly. The rate you send out your reports depends on the scale and pace of your organization. 

By sending more frequent nonprofit impact reports you can sooner share your nonprofit’s wins and keep your donors in the loop. With an annual report, you can summarize every donation received over the year and break down how they were used in one convenient document. 

Not sure which option is best for your nonprofit? You can reach out to your donors and ask what they’d prefer. 

What format should your donor impact report be?

Choosing a format for your donor report is a perfect opportunity to show off your nonprofit’s creativity, success and gratitude for your donors. 

Let’s look at the most popular formatting options. 

1. Print

Keep things traditional with a printed donor impact report. This is a great option if your nonprofit has a great deal of donors who write and mail in checks. An eye-catching printed report can be a keepsake for your donors which they can also easily share with others. 

The best part? That means more people can see the great work that your nonprofit does and become inspired to donate! 

2. Digital 

If you want to go digital you have plenty of formatting options. Whether it’s a dedicated webpage, PDF or attachment in an email from the CEO, digital donor impact reports are a flexible choice. 

With digital reports, you can include as much text and colorful visuals as you’d like without ever having to worry about printing costs. Plus, digital reports are easy to share widely!

3. Video 

A video donor impact report may sound intensive but it can leave a major impression. Don’t worry about making high-scale production. A heartfelt message from your CEO about your nonprofit’s progress can move donors. Video reports also let you include visuals to help break down financials. 

Just like with digital reports, the video version can be shared with a click of a button.

Bonus: Social media 

Compliment your donor impact report by repurposing snippets of it on social media. Whatever reporting format you chose, you’ll have tons of great stats and visuals that can become thumb-stopping social media posts. 

Not only does this let you announce that your report is ready and drum up excitement for it, but you’ll also have great content to share on your social media channels!

Why donor impact reports matter

You already have plenty on your plate with attracting donors, keeping contributors engaged and running your nonprofit, so creating a donor impact report might feel like too big of a time commitment. But these reports are about so much more than just sharing how much in donations you’ve received. Donor impact reports help grow your nonprofit in several ways. 


Above all else, donors want to make sure that they can trust your nonprofit with their gifts. This report gives you the opportunity to break down exactly how donations were used and what was accomplished with them. By seeing how responsibly their donations are used and the difference they’re making, contributors can feel inspired to keep giving

Share impact

This report is your chance to celebrate all the good that your nonprofit has done thanks to donors. Use this report to show every achievement made and number of lives touched by your nonprofit. After you have years of reporting under your belt, you’ll also have a convenient record of your nonprofit’s progress. 

Engage donors

Donor impact reports help you show even more appreciation for your donors. Every report lets your contributors see how they’re making a difference in the world by donating. Reporting makes donors feel engaged with your nonprofit and increases their likelihood of donating again. 

Attract new donors

Any chance to attract new donors is a win for nonprofits. Whether they found your report on your website or it was shared with them from a friend, it can teach people about all the great work your nonprofit does. This can make all the difference for someone that’s considering donating and wants more information before contributing.

What to include in a donor impact report

Your nonprofit does so much good during the year that figuring out what to include in your report can feel daunting. You’ll want to highlight all of your wins while making sure not to overwhelm your readers.

While there’s no strict donor impact report template, here’s a list of what donors would appreciate and expect to see in a report:

  1. Introduction
  2. Letter from the CEO
  3. Appreciation and personalization
  4. Financial information
  5. Stories from donors, recipients and volunteers
  6. Visuals
  7. How to stay involved

1. Introduction summarizing your mission

While your donors likely are familiar with your nonprofit’s mission, this report is another opportunity to share your mission, why it matters and how donations will help you succeed. This section is also helpful for people who haven’t already donated to your cause and are checking out your donor impact report before making a decision. 

2. Letter from the CEO

As the head of your nonprofit, a message from your CEO is a perfect way to kick off the donor impact report. Your CEO can craft a letter that shows the nonprofit’s gratitude for every donor, a snapshot of the nonprofit’s achievements and upcoming plans. Hearing from your CEO can make donors feel appreciated for their contributions.

3. Appreciation and personalization 

Nonprofits can never thank donors enough for their gifts! Donors will appreciate all the gratitude you send their way. Make your thanks even more special by personalizing it in the stewardship report. Include stats like number of donors, largest contributors and record amount collected in a day. 

4. Financial information 

There’s no doubt that you have plenty of financial information you can include in your report. But make sure that the information you share makes sense for your readers. Instead of minute details, include the total amount of donations you received and how these funds helped progress your mission. 

5. Stories from donors, recipients and volunteers

One of the best ways to touch the heart of readers is to include stories from donors, recipients and volunteers. By reading firsthand accounts of how your nonprofit is changing lives, readers can feel more connected with your mission by seeing the difference that their donations are making. 

6. Visuals 

Break up long blocks of text and keep your readers engaged by including a variety of visuals in your report—like graphs and pie charts! These are a great way to showcase data while making it interesting and easy to understand (and are perfect to reuse for social media posts!). Also include pictures of your team and community to help readers feel more involved with your nonprofit. 

7. How to stay involved 

Remind your readers of how they can stay involved with your nonprofit at the end of your report. In addition to asking for donations, let your readers know that they can stay up to date with your nonprofit through your social media channels and newsletters as well as how they can get in touch with you. 

3 Examples of donor impact reports

Need some inspiration before you kickstart your report? Here are 3 donor impact report examples from nonprofits and what we love about them. 

1. New Energy Nexus 

New Energy Nexus is a global nonprofit that’s driving clean energy innovation and adoption. Here’s what we liked in their 2021 impact report:

  • Opens with a letter from their Chief Energy Officer that shares their program, team and upcoming plans 
  • Features an illustrated snapshot of their impact over the year with powerful stats on one easy to read page
  • Explains their strategy and solution behind decarbonizing the global economy 
  • Spotlights several organizations across the world that they’ve helped transform and their impact on local communities 
  • Shares pictures of their team who make the nonprofit’s work possible 
  • Lists ways for readers to get involved with the nonprofit like donating and following them on social media

2. CAMH Foundation

The CAMH Foundation is Canada’s leading hospital for mental health and is working to transform the treatment of mental illness. Here’s what we liked about their donor impact report webpage:

  • Opens with a video of gratitude for donors from several people 
  • Features a message of appreciation for donors and highlights that their gifts have helped change thousands of lives over a year
  • Shares several stories from people and families who’ve benefited from CAMH’s care as well as stories from donors and what inspired them to contribute
  • Details the progress that was made through donations like number of patients supported and visits made possible
  • Highlights several of their accomplishments from 2021 that progressed the mental health movement
  • Lists initiatives for the upcoming year to help even more communities 
  • Includes ways donors can get involved with the nonprofit and a form for sharing the donor’s reason for supporting the nonprofit for a chance to be featured on their social media

3. Power Poetry 

Power Poetry is the first and largest mobile poetry community for young people. Here’s what we liked about their data-focused impact webpage:

  • Begins with a number of their current poets and their membership goal 
  • Details stats like number of poems written and lifetime scholarship amount 
  • Explains their goal of increasing the number of young people writing and reading poetry
  • Features an interactive heatmap of the amount of poems written in an area
  • Lists the nonprofit’s major milestones like its first scholarship for young poets and the day that they reached 100,000 members
  • Encourages readers to sponsor a poetry slam where they can pick the topic and cause or donate $1 to support the poems of 1 poet for a year

Propel your nonprofit with a donor impact report

Creating your donor impact report can feel like a big undertaking, but it’ll help you connect with your contributors on a whole new level. By reassuring donors that their gifts were properly used and encouraging people who haven’t yet donated, your report will resonate with readers and inspire them to stay invested in your nonprofit.

Looking for an easy way to store donor data and send them important messages? Try a 60-day free trial of WildApricot.

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