In 2016, DWFI’s marketing director, Molly Nance, called Foster Executive Writing & Editing to step in and save her time by helping write the institute’s annual report — more than 60 pages of technical, political, scientific and socioeconomic topics that together reflect the institute’s big picture: helping the world ensure water and food security for a population that is on track to reach 10 billion by the year 2050. Later, Kindra assisted at the institute’s bi-annual international conferences on the same topics, attending as many sessions as feasible, taking notes and writing summaries for the conference proceedings to inspire, influence and spark action from water, energy and food professionals, government leaders, advocates and activists across the globe.
Annual report writing and editing
Annual report writing and editing: An annual report is an organization’s most important marketing piece. It offers reasons for funders to fund, legislators to pass laws favorable to a mission, and stakeholders to support the organization and help reach its goals. In the nonprofit world, however, many annual reports are written by administrators or researchers who, although they know the topics best, are not experts in marketing.
The problem is that it’s not easy to inspire audiences to a level of energy, commitment and drive that prompts them to act. It takes experience and finesse to do it successfully. Kindra draws from a deep well of experience with annual reports — commercial, academic and nonprofit. She has used this expertise for DWFI every year since 2016, sometimes writing and sometimes editing others’ work, taking the institute’s annual reports to a new level of richness to help the organization inspire diverse stakeholders around the world and advance its mission.
Kindra interviewed subject matter experts in all disciplines included in the first DWFI report she worked on, absorbing information quickly and digging for contextual information to help her understand the true needs of the institute, as well as all stakeholders. She helped the institute frame its mission and accomplishments in lay language that could be easily understood by a variety of audiences, without compromising the importance and accuracy of the research behind the institute’s work. For later reports, as the institute’s staff grew, Kindra was brought in to write small pieces and provide editorial expertise.
The first year Kindra participated in DWFI’s international conference proceedings, she was asked to simply serve as a note-taker along with several others. Another writer was commissioned to write the book of proceedings using all the note-takers’ notes. When the author received Kindra’s notes, however, he used so much of her written summaries that she was given a co-author byline. For the next conference, Kindra was asked to serve as the sole author of the proceedings book. The third engagement for DWFI proceedings will include educational sessions for all notetakers to streamline and shorten the production timeline.
The biggest challenge of writing conference proceedings is figuring out how to manage the “fire hose” of information that pours from the mouths of speakers and panel members and from their slides, most of it extremely technical. Kindra possesses a unique ability to pull out the most important points of any talk, even if the material is highly technical and in areas of study not familiar to her. “You quickly comprehend things, which is a rare talent,” says Molly Nance, the institute’s director of communications and public relations. This work is extremely challenging, and Kindra is often called in to “fix” the work of other note-takers who are struggling to organize the material into powerful summaries. Between conference sessions, Kindra is often found getting to know stakeholders from all over the world to better understand the needs, hopes and capabilities of those who are charged with this very important global task. “This is key! By doing this, you become an extension of DWFI,” Molly says.
After writing session summaries, Kindra checks facts, polishes the copy, helps write introductions and transitions, and makes recommendations for layout and organization of the book. Once the layout is completed, she helps proofread, ensuring proper language use. But, more importantly, she ensures the main points are getting across to readers who could be future partners, donors or advocates of the institute.
“I am responsible for ensuring exceptional communications reflecting the global leadership of the institute and the university. Much of the research information we share is highly technical yet needs to be easily understood by a variety of audiences. Kindra quickly grasped the concepts and translated our projects into compelling stories that focused on the resulting benefits. She was a partnering consultant at our 2017 Water for Food Global Conference [and again in 2019] and provided excellent notes, capturing the “ah-ha” moments and identifying common topic threads between sessions. She also reviewed, edited and proofed the conference proceedings, helping to ensure an accurate and appealing report for attendees and our many other important stakeholders. Kindra was a tremendous help in developing our annual reports. She interviewed faculty, took in a vast amount of material from a variety of sources, and organized the content in a logical and concise manner. Her writing is superb, turning complex research projects into impressive achievements that our board, university leaders and faculty are proud to share. Thanks to Kindra’s professional skills, I can focus on other communication priorities knowing our publications are going to reflect and protect the institute’s brand reputation. If you have the opportunity to hire Kindra at Foster Executive Writing, do it! She is talented, creative, hardworking and reliable. And, just as importantly, she’s a wonderful person and a joy to work with. She will be sure to achieve your organization’s goals and make the journey a positive experience for everyone on the team.”
–Molly Nance, Director of Communications and Public Relations, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska
Links to deliverable samples:
2019 Conference Proceedings – took notes, recommended linking themes, wrote most entries, fixed entries of other notetakers, proofread
2019 Annual Report – edited and proofread; wrote several pieces
2016 Annual Report – wrote most entries (ask to see this document)
(Please ask to see first drafts showing edits and editorial comments/queries.)