How to Write a Board Report
A board report is a presentation to a board of directors—the group that oversees the operation of an organization. Often, the board report is done annually as a way of updating the board on the year's problems and accomplishments. Unfortunately, writing a board report can be stressful if you are not accustomed to making these kinds of presentations. The good news is, most of the time, the board report is a great chance to share positive information with your board of directors.
Find out whether the board wants information on a specific issue or program. If the board has a president, you should contact the president to let him know you are looking forward to the upcoming report and ask him if there is anything specific the board would like you to include in the report.
Brainstorm topics to cover in your board report. Make a list or chart of items you could include. For example, list any changes or problems you faced this year. List any accomplishments your organization achieved. If you have important facts or statistics to share with the board, list these. Finally, list any upcoming projects or changes that would require the board's authorization or financial support.
Gather any documenting evidence. If you've received evaluations of your organization, compile the data. Look for examples of your accomplishments, such as awards won or news reports written about your organization. Compile facts about upcoming projects or changes, such as their costs and anticipated benefits.
Create an outline for your board report by reviewing the items you listed during your brainstorming. Organize information into main topics to be covered in the report. Consider putting the most positive topic toward the end, so the board will be left with a good impression.
Write the report using your outline. Include a main idea in each paragraph. Support each point with data, evidence, information, or an illustration. However, don't make it too lengthy. In the article "Five Ways to Beat Board Presentation Blues," Marjorie Brody says, "Give them your conclusion up front, and then back it up with one page of bullet points. Have more documentation, though, in case they want it." You want the board to get an overview, without boring them with the details.
Consider adding an oral and/or visual component to your board report, if applicable. Some boards only want a written report. However, if you have the opportunity to give an oral presentation, add visual aids. A video or PowerPoint of photographs, charts and other evidence or data can enhance your presentation.
Proofread your written report and all visual aids. Minor errors will make your report appear less professional. Have a friend or colleague help with the editing to catch errors you overlooked.
Be prepared to take questions from the board after your board presentation. Keep your board report a bit shorter than the time allotted so you have time for questions and answers. According to Marjorie Brody, "It gets the directors more involved ... They like to have this control."
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