Reporting

Executive Director Reports: How to Write a Great White Board Report? (5 Examples for Inspiration)

Want to write better executive director reports? This guide covers the important aspects of board reporting that will make your life easier.

Avatar Davor Štefanović on January 28, 2022 (last modified on January 24, 2022) • 13 minute read

The problem with writing reports for executives and board members is that they’re usually very short on time. They don’t have time to read lengthy reports and would much rather get on with their day of actually making high-level decisions.

However, there is another problem there. They can’t really do that without the information in these reports. In addition, depending on the required metrics and the variety of people the reports are written for, the process can be incredibly time-consuming. Doing the required research and then tailoring the final report to cover all the necessary information takes a lot of time, which, again… you would probably rather spend doing almost anything else.

So, if you need to prepare an executive director report, you need to ensure it’s succinct and that it gets the point across as accurately and quickly as possible. Using business intelligence tools and report templates can be a lifesaver, especially if you need to prepare multiple reports from related datasets. Visually pleasing charts can show trends, obstacles, and opportunities executives will want to know about before making their decisions.

This article will cover the following:

Stripe (MRR & Churn) Dashboard Template

What Is an Executive Director Report?

Like with any report, the purpose of an executive director report is to inform the audience about the performance of a business or a project, raise any pertinent issues, and spark questions. The audience is usually board members and senior executives who need to be regularly updated about how business is doing. 

It’s not an activity report that covers the minutiae of every process and department. As it’s aimed at people who make high-level strategic decisions, it needs to include updates on strategic goals, financial overview, and current challenges. The reports are primarily meant to be communication tools that will get everyone on the same page and allow board members to pitch in if required.

Related: What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From

Why Are Board Reports Important?

Keep in mind that the majority of board members are not executive directors, nor have they ever held that role. They’re usually not sure how to leverage unique opportunities presented to you or how to deal with the challenges you face. They may only be aware of them in broad strokes, and they rely on your report to provide them with meaningful information about your work and issues not covered in other reports.

The board members need to have a comprehensive insight into a business’ performance which facilitates decision making. The directors should be active participants and should be given a chance to give input and ask questions.

A well-made board report will be used as a basis for further discussions, sparking questions and interest from board members. These discussions will then provide material for future projects and endeavors or course corrections if necessary.

It will also remind board members of their commitments and give them a sense of pride and enthusiasm. If the outlook is good, everyone will feel buoyed by it; if it’s bad, people need to be united and motivated to overcome a challenge.

What Should Be Included in an Executive Director’s Report?

This greatly depends on what the board directors are interested in, but there are some basics.

An executive director’s report should include a quick executive summary that will cover the big-picture events, celebrate the wins, make announcements, and make the whole thing a little more than numbers on the screen. You should also do an overview of what happened since the last meeting; think progress made and insights gleaned — this doesn’t need to be long or overly elaborate, you just need a quick glance at the information.

Other than that, there are 4 items you should keep in mind:

Significant issues

Starting with an overview or an update on significant issues or trends is a great way to get the ball rolling. Something that will or could impact the organization is always important, and the board should be made aware of that. Even if the event isn’t imminent and no decision needs to be made right away, the board needs to be able to factor it into their long-term planning.

Matters requiring board approval

Sometimes, you may need a board’s approval for certain items. In most cases, organizations will have a set of operational policies in place, an approved budget, and a consensus on what an executive director can do. This means that this section will frequently be short and possibly include modifications to existing operational policy, decisions on key fundraising events, the AGM, or an open house.

Compliance update

This is especially important if you’re running a non-profit, but all organizations need to ensure they’re compliant with local and international regulations. This section can also include financial information like incorporation filings, charity filings, payroll deductions, fundraising, and similar, or that information can be spun into its own segment.

Progress on strategic goals

This is the core of an executive director’s report. Ideally, you want to have one or more organizational goals as regular agenda items anyway. The board report just provides an update on implementation.

It’s unlikely that there will be news about every goal every month, so this section will probably change the most month-to-month. Still, periodic updates will keep the executive director, and the board focused on the big picture and long-term objectives.

Related: Goals Based Reporting: Everything You Need to Know

How Do You Write a Great Report to the Board of Directors? 5 Best Practices

If you ask any board member what they want from their CEO or an executive director, they’ll likely answer the same way. They want to know what’s on your mind. 

Here’s how you can convey your thoughts to the board and ensure they get the message.

Plan with the end in mind

When you’re busy running day-to-day operations, sometimes it can be hard to take a step back and assess where you stand in relation to the organization’s goals. A board report can give you an excellent opportunity to do just that. 

Summarize the organization’s purpose and goals at the start of the report in order to link it to the big picture or strategic outlook. This will ensure the report is focused on what really matters and remind the board of the organization’s mission. After all, they probably serve on many other boards, and this update will be useful in keeping everyone on the same page.

Discuss the positives and the negatives

Don’t fall to the temptation of providing only positive information. Board members are savvy people who know that nothing is perfect, and they want to hear the bad along with the good. If you don’t provide a good mix of information (including the things you don’t know), they might get suspicious that you’re hiding something or even think that you don’t know what you’re doing.

So be open about your concerns and prompt the board for advice and input if necessary. This will help with the overall function of the organization and maintain the trust the board members have put in you as an executive.

Look both forward and backward

Your report is supposed to help the board steer the organization. As such, it should look back and examine past performance but also look forward and explain the outlook on the future. 

The report needs to elaborate on important developments in the past and their implications as well as the risk and opportunities that are coming. You know your business best and the board will want your input. An executive director report is the best chance to solve the problems that are troubling you and explain things that aren’t obvious to the board of directors.

Don’t get bogged down in the details

While the report needs to cover important topics, there’s no need to go into too much detail and use it to give operational reports and updates. You don’t need to waste the board’s time by providing them with the minutiae of operations that are under your exclusive authority. 

By the same token, don’t just go over your schedule and include “accomplishments” that are just a part of your job. You’re probably already expected to attend conferences, meet funders, hire new staff, prepare for audits, and so on. Give them the results instead of fluff. 

Related: Business Report: What is it & How to Write a Great One? (With Examples)

Use a dashboard

While telling a story always goes over well it needs to be backed up by data. And data means numbers, charts, and graphs.

The best executive director report needs to include dashboard panels that present the numbers in a way that’s easy to scan and understand. This frees you up to focus on the narrative and the overall trends. In addition, a dashboard can include revealing KPIs that reflect how the organization is doing and provide a snapshot of its status.

Executive Report Templates

Dashboards have become an essential part of any report, and pre-built templates make them easy to build.

Databox’s executive report dashboard templates are powerful tools you can use to present your organization’s performance and KPIs. They’re fully customizable and come with the most commonly tracked metrics that can be drawn from some of the most popular tools available.

They allow you to prioritize data in different ways and even seamlessly integrate multiple data sources and connect multiple dashboards into a single report. 

Monthly Marketing Performance Dashboard

If you want to track key user acquisition metrics (visits to leads conversion rate, traffic from email vs blogs, etc.), this monthly marketing performance dashboard is exactly what you’re looking for.

It’ll show you which traffic sources generate the most leads for your business and if your marketing efforts are paying off. In addition, you’ll learn how to track the number of users visiting your website, how to keep track of your lead generation, and much more. It supports one-click integration with Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing, allowing you access to all relevant metrics you can think of.

Monthly Marketing Performance Dashboard

Yearly Sales Performance Review

This yearly sales performance dashboard will allow you to track the most important sales performance metrics in the designated time interval. You’ll be able to get high-level and granular views of your sales and assess the overall situation.

The dashboard will give you insight into the performance of your entire sales by visualizing your pipeline revenue by deal stage, providing the heatmap that allows you to see your most significant time periods, and allowing you to track unique values and the average time to close a deal.

Yearly Sales Performance Review Dashboard

Intercom Customer Support Overview Dashboard

An easy-to-use customizable intercom customer overview dashboard template can allow you to determine how your Help Desk is performing and how efficient individual customer service agents are. You’ll be able to track and categorize the number of new conversations, number of leads open and closed conversations, and more.

It supports one-click integration with Intercom, allowing you to track how many conversations are currently open and how many conversations did your team handle in the designated time period. The dashboard also supports more integrations allowing you to identify and monitor all metrics relevant to your business.

Intercom Customer Support Overview Dashboard

Financial Performance Dashboard

If you’re using Quickbooks and HubSpot CRM, this financial performance dashboard supports one-click integration with those platforms, allowing you to monitor your overall financial health and identify issues that could affect your organization’s cash flow and turnover.

You’ll be able to track open invoices, expenses, revenues, and more. Thanks to integration support, you’ll have access to all relevant metrics needed to build a comprehensive image of your business’s financial situation.

Financial Performance Dashboard

Profitwell Revenue Trends Dashboard

With this ProfitWell revenue trends dashboard, you can track all the key SaaS metrics for your company in real-time. Integration is simple and allows you to get an overview of your SaaS revenue by tracking the following metrics: Recurring Revenue, Churn by Type, Customer Changes, New Recurring Revenue, and more. You’ll be able to see your company’s growth over the year, learn which strategies are driving the revenue, and track your strongest and weakest months.

Profitwell Revenue Trends Dashboard

Improve Executive Reporting with Databox

Executive reporting is all about optimizing the information you’re giving to the board. You need to keep their attention and give them valuable information that will ensure they’re on board with the organization’s mission. However, this can be time-consuming, as it involves complex tasks like gathering data, doing research, and tailoring the report that covers everything in the right way. This is where reporting templates and dashboards come in.

Databox can be incredibly helpful for executives who need to prepare frequent reports. It allows for quick gathering and analysis of data and exports them into ready-made reports. You can further customize the reports to suit your needs, which means that the task that once took hours can be done in minutes — saving you precious time and allowing you to spend more time running things.

Sounds too good to be true? You don’t have to take our word for it. All you have to do is create a free Databox account, connect data sources, and make sure for yourself. Future reporting will be a breeze.

Stripe (MRR & Churn) Dashboard Template
About the author
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Davor Štefanović Davor is an English literature graduate and an avid reader with a passion for languages. Working as a translator, editor, and writer has allowed him to learn about a wide range of topics — making him something of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to content. In his spare time, he reads, plays video games and boardgames, and runs/plays tabletop RPGs.
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