The annual report is one of the key items in every lodge's administrative process. The report is an opportunity for the lodge to recognize its accomplishments and areas needing improvement. This report also serves to provide future officers continuity in how they can better continue to achieve the goals of the lodge. However, the annual report is not relevant to just the lodge's functions, but also the council. For this reason, the annual report is an opportunity to earn points on the Journey to Excellence Score Card for lodges.
It is suggested that the annual report be presented by the lodge chief to the executive board of the council with which the lodge is associated. This report is an opportunity to share with the council how the lodge is doing, outside of the usual communication with the staff adviser. The lodge has the opportunity to share its weaknesses and strengths with the council.
The key to a successful annual report is creativity and content. A great way to make your annual report successful is to capture your audience with multimedia graphics. You can include pictures of your members working on camp projects, a clip of an Arrow of Light ceremony performed at a local pack, or giving a camp promotion presentation.
"Witauchsoman Lodge has been using videos to present their annual report to the council for the past four years," says Matt Planer, lodge chief of Witauchsoman Lodge. The Witauchsoman Lodge 2011 Annual Report video consists of a variety of statistics. A series of photos acts as a backdrop that supports the statistics and information. Planer says, "Don't put the report off until the end of the year. Work throughout the year, maintain accurate records, and keep the information being presented focused and concise." Witauchsoman Lodge uses service hour tracking sheets, OA Lodge Master, and a variety of other resources throughout the year to track information. Along with the video, Witauchsoman Lodge provides a one-page printed report.
While designing your annual report, remember to keep a majority of your information relevant to the council and try not to bore them with unnecessary information. When presenting your annual report, you are representing the Order of the Arrow, and more specifically your lodge. Be on time, dress for success, and represent the organization well!
It is important to realize the true power of this document. The annual report should not be kept within a small group of people. It should be shared with the lodge members so they understand where the lodge is headed. An adapted version could be used when looking to seek support from organizations outside of Scouting, similar to a portfolio. Whether you are looking to create a complex video or a well-designed PowerPoint, resources exist to aid you in the process. Consider searching the Internet for other lodges' annual reports to gain ideas. A lodge annual report template is also available in Microsoft PowerPoint format off the OA's website. This template has been field tested by several lodges and is user-friendly and easy to work with. The link for this and others are listed below.