Originally published October 14, 2015
According to a recent study on American confidence in charities released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in early October, one in three Americans lack confidence in charitable organizations. While confidence may not be as high as the industry would like, confidence levels have remained constant from 2008, and charities come out significantly higher than the U.S. Congress (4%), big business (9%), and newspapers (10%) according to June 2015 Gallup polls.
In addition to surveying confidence levels, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s survey asked about what information is important to donors and will help improve confidence as they make their giving decisions. Some of these major findings included:
- Individuals believe it is very important that the organization has evidence of successful and effective programs (68%).
- Respondents indicated that it is very important to know that an organization has low overhead costs, (including salaries, administration, and fundraising) (50%).
- Charity ratings from third parties or watchdog organizations are important to individuals’ giving decisions (54%).
Charitable organizations are doing important work; therefore, how can we change the minds of individuals who those lack confidence in them?
Donors want to know how their money is being used and the impact the organization is making. Much like a for-profit business, effectively communicating your organization’s financials with donors and other stakeholders is becoming increasingly important. When donors see that that their donations are going directly to programs that achieve the organization’s mission, they are far more likely to give.
Donors want to have impact, to make a difference. In addition to communicating data and other information that shows impact, share stories and testimonials that enable donors to understand how their gifts are making a difference. Showcasing your organization’s achievements shows the impact their gifts will have and helps donors believe your organization is worthy of their charitable gifts. Giving is a highly emotional and personal act. Stories and testimonials help educate donors and encourage giving.
Honor Donor Intent
While a good part of your organization’s focus is on acquiring new donors, nothing will lose your organization’s existing donors faster than not using their gifts for purposes you promised them you would. Your donors chose to support you because of the purposes you said you needed funding. Using their gifts as promised—and communicating that to donors—is critical to ensuring donors’ trust in your organization.
Contact us today to discuss how we can partner with you to use these techniques to reach your organization’s fundraising goals.
Copyright © 2015 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.