Being an Open Book: What Your Supporters Want to Know About You
More and more we’re hearing about the struggles some in the not-for-profit sector are having in raising funds they need to carry out their objectives. And it’s not always about the effects of the economy on the ability of people to give; sometimes it’s impacted on by how your supporters view the charitable sector.
People can have doubts about supporting the charity sector; this is often brought about by something they may have read, seen or heard; perhaps a ‘rogue’ in the sector has cast doubt on the credibility of the entire sector.
If people hear negative stories it is likely that they will question the reason they are giving, or question if they should give. If your organisation is being affected because of the actions of someone else in the community, often this can be easily remedied by being entirely open with your supporters.
Likewise, if there’s something happening in the economy that may be causing to people to question their ability, or desire to give; this can also be countered with the same measures.
With so many charities out there looking for support, supporters (and potential supporters) want assurances that their support is going in the right direction, that it’s being used for the right purposes and that they are being told everything they need to know to make an informed decision about supporting.
Gone are the days when some charities could get away with fudging the truth, giving scant answers to the (hard) questions; and about time too, as it’s meant many of the cowboy groups have either had to change their ways or have ‘given up’.
Often the more questions someone asks about why they should support, the more sincere they are in looking at supporting; these people often don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. They want to make sure their support is going to the right cause, to something they want to be associated with.
Organisations that show, without prompting, how resources they receive are used are likely to have a greater respect and quite likely a higher, stronger and more solid band of supporters.
If you aren’t already showing how the resources you receive are used; including volunteer hours, financial support or goods/services in kind, perhaps it’s time to reconsider and see how you can easily offer this information without your supporters having to ask for it.
5 questions they’ll likely want answers to:
1. How do I know you’re genuine?
2. Where does my money go?
3. Who benefits?
4. Is what I give secure?
5. Do any of the officers, stakeholders gain personally?