FINANCE NEWS: Website brings creativity to annual reports

Tania Mason

A website has launched this month to help charities file their annual reports on time and make them as informative and effective as possible.

The site, glowingreports.org.uk has been created by two marketing and print agencies with experience of working for voluntary sector organisations - Red Cinnamon and JacksonBone.

The founders believe the site is particularly timely in light of the Charity Commission's 'Accounts aren't optional' campaign, which launched last autumn and aims to reduce the number of charities that were late in filing their annual accounts. Earlier this month, the commission said that 31 per cent of charities were still breaking the law by missing their deadline.

The Glowing Reports website offers 10 top tips to help organisations plan, design and produce their accounts on time and to a high standard.

More content will be added over the coming months, including ideas about what to publish in reports. Selected reports will also be reviewed by the site's editors, to demonstrate what works well.

David Highton, Red Cinnamon founder, said annual reports were an opportunity for "clear and honest communication rather than obscurity and omission".

"We believe that the annual report is not a chore but a vital communication tool. It should explain simply and clearly how the money has been spent, what has been achieved over the past year and what the plans are for the future. It is also the place to be honest about what did not work so well and to demonstrate how this will be put right."

While the website is offered as a free service, the two founding agencies hope it will convince charities to hire them to help produce their accounts.

JacksonBone already creates the annual report and accounts for the Hilton in the Community Foundation, while Red Cinnamon has worked in the past with clients including Comic Relief, BBC Children in Need, and Gambling Industry Charitable Trust.

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