As part of our commitment to transparency, we are obligated to produce an annual review, but we aren’t required to make it interesting, useful, or fun to read. But we did. Here’s how we went about making it better.
Post by BCcampus’ editorial team
Like many organizations, we are required to create an annual review to share our activities over the past fiscal year. Our fiscal runs from April 1 to March 31 each year, and we began publicly sharing our annual report in 2012. “Breaking away from the traditional reporting method was a conscious decision; we wanted something that our stakeholders and partners would enjoy reading, so they can better understand all that we do,” said Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus. “While we regularly share the accomplishments of our system partners and institutions, we haven’t been great about broadcasting our own success. Completing the annual review gave us a chance to reflect on the impact we’ve had across the province; it’s hard not to be proud of the work we’ve done and the progress we’ve made.”
An annual review is typically a reporting of the activities completed during the previous fiscal, an accounting of the financials, and a nod to the stakeholders to acknowledge their input and investment. We wanted something different – something that provides value and better fits the BCcampus brand and voice, so we chose to go with a storytelling approach delivered in two different formats: a PDF file that can be downloaded, printed, and stored, and a visually impressive microsite built on a responsive platform so it can be viewed on all devices, large and small.
“It’s always been important for us to explore new approaches to the process of sharing of information,” said Mary, “finding ways to make the material more accessible, more valuable, and more inclusive of different perspectives and learning styles. This year’s iteration of the annual review is a good step forward in creating useful information for the people who support BCcampus, and a great way for us to share the accomplishments we’ve achieved over the past twelve months”.
When working with a large group of strong and diverse personalities, it’s important to have a ringleader to keep everyone on track and the project on time. Our ringleader is Erin Beattie, Manager, Marketing & Communications at BCcampus, who created and shared the roadmap for this review back in December. “We took our learnings from last year’s annual review,” said Erin, “as well as useful tools we uncovered when we created new content for the updated sites, BCcampus.ca and open.BCcampus.ca. By setting up a timeline and communicating expectations early on, we were able to stay on track with the multiple components that make up a project like this.”
The annual review included interviews with the senior management team to assemble the various accomplishments completed through each of the lines of service. Our writer conducted interviews and compiled the stories; our graphic designer developed the appropriate layout of the material and supporting visuals; and our web designer brought it to life online, coding the content so it works well on all devices.
Multiple rounds of communication were required to ensure the information was accurate, followed by numerous rounds of proofing, editing, tweaking, and refining, resulting in the current version of the review.
“We’ve had another amazing year, and we’re grateful for the teams and individuals who helped us enjoy so much success this past year, and for laying the groundwork for more success in the years to come.” – Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus