Whether you’re a chairperson or a company secretary, the chairperson’s report is an important part of this leadership role. For the purpose of this article, a chairperson may also be referred to as a president or chair – generally speaking, we’re referring to the presiding officer of your organisation, board, committee or assembly.
But what are the rules, regulations and expectations behind writing a chairperson’s report? Does it have to be written by the chairperson themselves? What are the reporting requirements? How often should one be written?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about preparing a chairperson’s report.
What is a chairperson’s report?
Every year, the chairperson of a corporation or head of a non-profit organisation writes a paper. This paper goes out to everyone in the company (as well as other relevant stakeholders and shareholders) as part of the annual report and financial accounts. Although it’s typically written once per year, some chairpeople choose to create a quarterly report. But there’s no obligation or legal requirement to write one at all.
This paper is rarely more than 1,000 words in length and is dictated by the chairperson, but it may also be written by a member of their team. Whatever the case, it’s always signed by the chair and is often then distributed and read aloud by them at the next annual general meeting (AGM).
What is the purpose of a chairperson’s report?
So, what’s the point? Ultimately, it’s to reflect on the activity, operations, finances and achievements over the previous financial reporting year. It’s generally very upbeat and positive and focuses on the highlights of the period, before looking forward to the coming year.
What should a chairperson’s report contain?
Use the following checklist to manage the creation of your next report.
|Sections to include|
|☐||A welcome to the new staff who joined during the period as well as fond goodbyes to those who left|
|☐||A summary of the top-line activity during the previous period, including highlights and best bits|
|☐||Any big achievements, awards, major clients, news or big wins|
|☐||Acknowledgement and thanks to external donors, stakeholders and shareholders|
|☐||Acknowledgement and thanks to internal teams|
|☐||Relevant special announcements for the upcoming year|
|☐||An announcement of future initiatives and the way forward|
You’ll want to stick to a maximum of 1,000 words, so there’s no need for the smallest of details to be included in the report. Ideally, the report should contain just one or two paragraphs for each section to make it easy to read for the audience and easy to be presented by the presiding officer.
Example chairperson’s report
Feel free to use this mock chairperson’s report template below to help shape your own.
123 Building, Street 52
UK, P11 PPX
Organisation overview: Organisation123’s mission is to make the world a better place through technology and education.
Dear Organisation123 members,
2022 was another excellent year for us. We hit some key milestones and turned a team of nine members into a team of thirteen! We’d like you to join us in welcoming new starters Megan Moffit, James Jury, Danny Daelish and Sarah Smith to the team and thanking them for their contributions so far. We also said goodbye to Harry Hill this year who, we can all agree, had a big impact during his time here.
Some of my personal highlights from our activity this year include:
- Merging with Organisation456 to expand our offering into new regions.
- Raising £10,000 between the team with various initiatives for charity.
- Increasing our customer base by 67%.
- Our mentions in the national press, including The Telegraph, BBC and our new TV advertisement.
As always, we must extend our gratitude to CompanyX for their sponsorship and financial support, as well as to donors Michelle Mathers and Ewan Einstein for their constant and continued support.
Our success is also directly linked to the hard work of our team. We have made extraordinary progress this year, and I’d like to personally thank every team member for their energy, commitment and consistency in driving our business forward.
This year, our plans for expansion include:
- A new in-house telesales team.
- Further investments into our technology.
- Sourcing a creative agency to support our marketing ambitions.
There are also some plans that are in their very early stages, but I look forward to sharing them with you all soon.
Thank you all for another excellent year. I look forward to continuing to break barriers in 2023 with you all.
How to write an effective chairperson’s report
1. Give yourself plenty of time to write, edit and review
Give yourself time to complete the report without rushing. This will allow you to pause, reflect, add to and remove from the report, meaning the eventual draft and final paper will be the best they can be. Remember that it could be read in the future by potential investors or boards, and keep this in mind throughout the writing process.
2. Create a structure
Depending on the audience, your company culture and your way of working, you may start with small talk or get straight into it. Generally speaking, it makes sense to structure the report chronologically – start by looking back at the last year’s progress and end by looking at next year’s plan.
3. Start with bullet points
Bullet points are a good place to start and will feed into your structure. For each section, add up to five bullet points outlining the key points you want to get across. Starting with bullet points will help you to stay away from overcomplicated and detailed sentences and encourage you to remain concise.
4. Expand on each of your bullet points
Once you’re happy with your bullet points, expand on each of them. Add just a sentence or two of information about what was done, how a certain goal was achieved or a particular project you’re proud of.
If you’ve created five sections with five bullet points in each, you’ll only need forty words for each bullet point and then you’ve hit the word count of 1,000! If your word count is looking low, don’t be tempted to add extra detail, though. Less is more in this scenario.
5. Edit, edit and edit again!
Finally, edit. As this report will be circulated widely, double-check for spelling and grammatical errors, make sure the paper flows nicely and give yourself the time to come away from the report before returning. Often, we are blind to our own errors because we know what a sentence is supposed to say. A second (or third!) pair of eyes can help with this.
How often should you publish the chairperson’s reports?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to this and, in fact, they don’t have to be written at all. Some chairpeople prefer quarterly reporting whereas others may line the report up with an AGM or a presentation of the company’s financials.
Is a chairperson’s report the same as a board report?
No. A board report is usually written and distributed by the company secretary and is a package of documents or board papers that are sent to the board of directors before a board meeting. This complements the agenda and the minutes of meetings. This is also usually confidential and only for board members. Conversely, even though a chairperson’s report is for all members of the organisation, is often only written and distributed once a year and is sometimes even distributed to the public.
Should the chairperson’s report be public?
As long as it doesn’t contain confidential information or anything that could undermine the board’s fiduciary duties, it can be public. Some companies may publish the report on their website’s blog, on the chair’s LinkedIn page or in communications with their clients.
In essence, the chairperson’s report is a good time for reflection across the company. Take the opportunity, while writing, to acknowledge and thank your teams for their hard work and the contributions that have made your business successful during that period. Focus on the positives, highlights and best bits of the year to breed enthusiasm and energy. Keep each of your points concise, and use our tick list above to make sure you haven’t missed anything!
If you need a further hand, iBabs allows you to securely circulate your reports, notes and documents with the board at any time, no matter where you are. We understand how busy a chairperson’s job is, so we’ve created an online platform to save you as much time, energy and effort as possible in your role.
Want to learn more? Try a live demo of iBabs.