Six ways to create transparency to build trust with not-for-profit stakeholders 9 months ago

Anyone with experience in a non-profit environment will tell you there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in keeping the wheels of a charity turning. 

The long hours.

The tireless battle balancing income and expenditure.

The emotional investment.

And often all without appropriate remuneration to compensate for the blood, sweat and tears invested in helping a charity achieve its core mission.

As a profession that achieves significant social impact, fundraisers and charity employees are hard-working and often invest above and beyond to get the job done.

But it doesn’t matter how hard one works. If a charity relies on financial gifts to grow and maintain operations, it’s essential the charity is transparent.

Creating transparency in all areas will help donors decide who to choose when it comes to making their financial gifts, and establishes the credibility required to build and strengthen a brand.

Here’s how to create transparency to build the trust to make sure that donors choose you: 

1)Publish data and financials

Donors are rightfully cautious and want to know that their gift will be spent wisely to help the charity achieve its mission. 

There are various data-based documents you can create that will provide complete external and internal visibility over the past, current and future financial stability of the organisation.

  • Annual review

An annual review summarises the last 12 months of a charity in one easy-to-read document.

Likely to be included in an annual review are details of income, board members and their objectives, financial achievements, major donor gifts, and predicted forecasts for the year ahead, both economic and otherwise.

An annual review creates transparency around the past 12 months and makes donors feel comfortable knowing how their hard-earned money will be spent in the future.

  • Business plan

A business plan is a fundamental document that shows potential and existing stakeholders your goals, financial situation, future forecast, potential risks and how you plan to mitigate them.

A business plan also defines the market and identifies an engagement strategy to generate revenue.

  • Case for support

A case for support is a high-level document that provides an overview of the organisation for anyone who wants to see it. A case for support includes financial information, predicted forecasts, objectives and details of fundraising spend in the past.

2) Board of Directors

All board members are responsible for making sure a charity follows strict governance in financial, fiscal and ethical matters. How and why someone is chosen to join the board is of utmost importance.

Select board members who are both strongly aligned with your cause and can bring professional experience to build credibility.

Public figures aligned with the board should generate further awareness and transparency by openly sharing the cause and its achievements among their networks.

3) Donor stewardship

Regular contact with donors will build trust, credibility and will make sure you’re always accessible to answer any questions from supporters.

Taking a donor’s money and failing to contact or adequately thank them for their support may indicate a lack of transparency with how donations are being spent and the results – or lack thereof – that are achieved.

Just as important as asking for donations is regularly thanking donors through events, emails and small gifts.

4) Impact reporting

Reporting the impact your organisation makes in the broader cause is a highly effective way to create transparency.

Publish case studies on social media channels, in fundraising campaigns and marketing material to report to funders and investors what’s really achieved with all the hard work required to keep the charity running.

5) Create an online presence

Create a robust online presence so that Google searches reveal professional profiles of key members of the team including staff, board members, directors and investors.

Use the website to share ongoing testimonials and achievements so that when people look for confirmation they can trust you with their dollars,

The quality of the relationships you build will make or break a charity. Transparency in both front and back end operations will help build trust among existing and potential donors, investors and both internal and external stakeholders.

To find out how SupporterHub can utilise complex data to build up a financial overview of a charity, contact us today to arrange a FREE trial.