Fundraisers may invest in the most outstanding graphic designs, organize eye-catching events and so on – which are all great, by the way – but much may not be actualized if two attributes are missing. The two attributes are authenticity and transparency, and they have kept many non-profits going for years.
More notably, some strong (fundraising) partnerships have been founded on the bedrock of these two attributes. For one, most persons will readily gravitate towards an authentic or genuine initiative and steer clear of shady fundraising campaigns.
This is why you, as a non-profit administrator or manager, must be particular about sending out communications with clarity. Everything about your fundraising campaign should be devoid of underhand dealings. In the same vein, you should transparently go about your fundraising business. Putting donors in the know about the project's progress to which the funds were committed should suffice in this regard.
You need to understand that transparency transcends merely reeling out financial details or reports; it requires you to respect the stance of the donors too. For instance, grantors may ask that you use their donations for a specific purpose at a given point in time; you should avoid using such funds for other things.
It is essential to build an organizational culture around these two attributes. This will keep employees committed to conducting their fundraising activities in line with the best standard practices. Moreover, upholding transparency will make it easy for people to find information about your organization.
Remember the saying that "trust is earned"? Well, it can come only through transparency for a fundraising entity and organizations in other sectors. Therefore, you should do all you can to maintain sound accountability and keep to whatever instructions a grantor may give.
Towards The Development Of An Authentic And Transparent Fundraising System
There should be some degree of intentionality attached to ensuring that your fundraising endeavours reflect authenticity and transparency. This is crucial if you have got a team (that is, your workforce) you are working with. You want to see to it that the aforementioned attributes permeate your organizational culture.
As you imbibe such a culture, it becomes ingrained in every employee – even when they individually solicit funds on behalf of the organization. All these will, however, take some effort to implement, and it is to this end that the following discourse ensues.
Highlight Your Financial Goals/Objectives
The intention to build an authentic and transparent fundraising system must be matched with the need for a sense of direction. This is especially knowing what the needs are and being able to highlight them appropriately.
Therefore, you should do the necessary evaluation to determine the amount of funds for the charitable project before you. Also, it's important that you plan your campaigns effectively, and have a clear view of those you intend to reach with the relief materials. These steps will lay the foundation for the next line of action.
Communicate The Purpose To Donors Succinctly
The purpose of the fundraising campaign must be clearly communicated to potential donors. You should not leave them in the dark regarding the use of funds and the amount to be raised. This further herald your commitment to ensuring all-around transparency in your fundraising activities.
Sending out unclear messages could serve as an anchor for doubts, which may significantly impact the outcome in the long run. This is despite the fact that most persons may not come out openly to show their concerns as they would rather look away – not something you desire. To avert this, you have to make sure your fundraising communication is not devoid of clarity.
Accessibility Is Key
Now, let’s zoom in on accessibility and its influence on fundraising. Instances exist where certain donors – potential or loyal ones – want to inquire about one or two things; it is pertinent that they are able to do so without any impediment. As such, you should have a system – maybe a CRM tool – in place to foster a good donor relationship.
Apart from that, you should always watch out for comments on your fundraising posts on social media. Responses should be provided to salient issues raised therein. By this, you may not only be attending to an individual but others who may have similar inquiries.
Your responsiveness speaks volumes of your authenticity and advances good communication, which could bring the audience closer. In sum, people will readily connect [with you] and commit to the cause if they are sure of your availability. You should also intentionally request feedback from the donors.
Let me quickly chip this in here: you should not neglect giving room for interviews when journalists or media houses come calling to ask about your non-profit. This could somewhat promote the trustworthiness of your organization and even raise the level of awareness.
Keep Donors Updated
Your fundraising campaign seizes to be a private exercise once you've called people's attention to it. Hence, you should be mindful to keep those that have contributed to the cause updated. This is a good way of sustaining transparency in your operation.
You should regularly, in the course of running the fundraising campaign, let them know about the progress made. Hint them about the amount raised so far, the phase of the project that you are, and what is needed to complete it. This can cause people to commit more to the project and even draw others to it.
One can safely add that keeping donors posted is a catalyst for keeping loyal donors and bringing in new ones – a plus for your donor base. That said, it doesn’t have to be only the donors; you should also carry your volunteers and employees along. You can have your employees submit their individual progress reports in case they oversee an aspect of fundraising – P2P, for instance.
Generally, authenticity and transparency make people want to associate with a business, and this is not oblivious to many stakeholders therein. The situation is similar in the fundraising sector – if not more sensitive. Donors give to a cause because they feel their contributions will address a need in the life of vulnerable ones.
As such, it is incumbent for the non-profit – acting as an intermediary between the parties – to ensure that donations are used as intended. And the donors should not be left in the dark while this is done – even though they may not purposefully demand an update. Given the foregoing, you should devotedly uphold transparency as a non-profit operator as you go about your business.
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