When talking about fundraising, information is the key. Supporters will pick organizations that they believe are sharing and supporting the same factors that they value and believe in.
According to an online survey, 67% of the people chose “Core value of the organization” as the most important factor when choosing a charity to donate. This means that when your organization’s core value matches the supporters, it’s very likely that they will donate to your charity if you are able to communicate to them the core values that you believe in.
Another important factor that influences people’s choices is “The transparency of the charity’s financial status”. Transparency in an organization inspires confidence and builds trust to its supporters. Beyond what the law requires, nonprofits can demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices by being entirely transparent with financial information and fundraising practices.
This doesn’t necessary mean that you have to show your financial reports every quarter to your supporters. Transparency can be done in different ways:
Update the status of your organizations regularly online so that your supporters will have easy access to what’s going on in the organization.
Photos and videos are the ways of communications too. But only use under people’s permissions.
Make all the information easy to find. Information includes the nonprofit’s budget-size and its sources of revenue, as well as information about board composition, programs, outcomes/impact, staffing, and donors (protecting the identity of those who wish to remain anonymous).
The same survey also shows that more than half of the people would like to know about the project updates and the future planning for the specific event that they support. They want to know if the money they donated have been or will be used like they were promised by the organization. It is not only the organization’s responsibility to show the supporters how the money being used but also a legal requirement by the IRS.
In conclusion, information is the key to attract and engage your supporters. However, how to keep your information transparent and your fundraising ethical will require attention and guidelines. It is your duty to follow the law, but more importantly, reporting to the supporters with accurate and honest information will help you build a long-lasting relationship.
The IRS instructs nonprofits to: “Report as fundraising expenses all expenses, including allocable overhead costs, incurred in: (a) publicizing and conducting fundraising campaigns, and (b) soliciting bequests and grants from foundations or other organizations…” (Source: Instructions to Form 990, page 35).