With over 1.5 million charitable organizations in the US alone, NGO founders have a tough challenge presented to them. Not only do they need to launch an effective marketing campaign to attract charitable givers, but they also need to work on building trust.
This may be a tricky part for many charity workers who are only starting out in this line of work. When you’re fired up with an idea that will change the world for the better, it may be hard to see your work through somebody else’s eyes. From your point of view, you know full well your cause is just. However, your generous donors have no way of knowing that if you don’t spend time showing them why you’re a worthy investment.
Earning the trust of your donors is not just about convincing one person to join you in helping the disenfranchised. A donor who trusts you will help spread the word or even come volunteer to make the world a better place.
Here’s how you can earn that trust.
Release financial reports
The very first step you’ll need to do is to release financial reports to the public. Not all countries require NGOs and charities to do so, but it’s wise to make them public anyways. This is a simple step that clearly shows you have nothing to hide.
Granted, many smaller charitable organizations that do not have a financial report available to website viewers are not hiding anything. But when it comes to building trust, it’s not about what’s really going on inside your organization. It’s about what a potential donor can learn about the organization by visiting their website.
So make sure you have a financial report publicly available and clearly visible on your website.
Show where the money goes
Releasing financial documents with detailed breakdowns of expenses and charitable funding from different sources is a necessary step. However, it would be naive to expect every visitor of your website to actually read it in full.
Most people will be content with simply seeing that the financial reports are available. But if you want to communicate transparency, you need to make the communication visual.
Having a simple breakdown of where the money goes in your organization, like this one, can go a long way when it comes to building trust with donors.
Source: WE Charity
If you have the time and resources, you can do more detailed breakdowns like this one.
Source: Innocence Project
Report on the impact
Making sure your finances are as transparent and as understandable as possible is a large part of building trust. However, there’s an even more important aspect of this process. You need to show how your donors’ charitable contributions are changing the world.
The reason for this is fairly simple. Your donors don’t contribute to feel good about their charitable donation and be on their way. They contribute to see a positive impact of their donation. If they don’t, they may choose another charity that uses their money for a greater result.
Again, the issue here is not that you don’t have any results — it’s that you’re not showing them.
How do you show them effectively?
One way to go about it is to publish yearly or quarterly reports on what your organization accomplished.
Now, this does chip away at your resources a bit as you’ll need to get help from writers and photographers. But the results are worth it. If you go into the community you’ve helped and publish an article or a blog post with interviews of people whose lives were positively impacted, your donors will trust you more.
Foster a community spirit
Here’s a common mistake that up-and-coming charity leaders often make. They treat their organization in a one-sided way where they and their team of volunteers do the good deed and the donors just supply them with money. However, donors want to feel included as well. Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of WE Charity, adds to this point. On his website, he says: “We’ve also learned that charity can be more than just asking for donations and hoping for the best.”
If you work on creating a community spirit among your donors, they will feel like they’re a part of this big effort and will trust you so much more.
The best thing to do this is to build an online community. Whether it’s a forum or a social media group or chat, giving the means to get to know each other better is a powerful thing for community building. In the process, they’ll also get to know you and the team better, building trust.
Let’s change the world together
Not sure how to turn your one-off charitable effort into an organization that changes the world for the better? Build a community of like-minded people, show them where the money goes, and how it impacts the world. With that, your vision of a better future for mankind will be unstoppable.