To grow an organization’s donor base, nonprofits are now proving their worth through impact transparency. Of course, nonprofit transparency isn’t anything new, as charities have shared tax forms and annual reports for decades. However, technology has transformed the donor-to-nonprofit relationship. Today, donors aren’t just looking for a cause to give to; they’re looking for a cause to support on many levels. To stay competitive in the nonprofit fundraising landscape, it’s essential for your nonprofit to focus on impact transparency.
The Importance of Impact Transparency
Just as you like to know the ingredients in the food you buy, donors have the right to know what programs and services they are funding, and that their gift is making a positive impact. Impact transparency is important for many reasons, such as:
- Connecting donors with the work of your nonprofit
- Inspiring prospective donors to give and get involved
- Proving that your nonprofit is effective and worth the investment
- Building trust with all parties
Nonprofits aren’t just responsible for making a difference. They must also engage current donors and inspire future donors. With impact transparency, nonprofits are accomplishing all of this.
Setting Goals and Measuring Impact
It’s impossible to measure impact without setting goals related to that impact. After all, you can’t claim success without a benchmark. When setting impact-related goals, focus on SMART criteria.
- Specific: The goal is definable (lives changed, families fed, acres conserved)
- Measurable: The goal is easily measured
- Attainable: The goal is reachable with moderate effort
- Relevant: The goal is related to your nonprofit’s mission
- Time-bound: The goal has a structured time frame
An example of an impact goal looks like this: “Our organization will conserve 500 acres through wetland mitigation throughout this calendar year, creating a home for four species of birds of prey.”Once you have a SMART impact goal, you can monitor your progress based on the goal criteria.
Ways to Market Impact
Nonprofits can have the best intentions when it comes to proving impact, but if they aren’t communicating it properly, then all of that effort is in vain. To prove that your nonprofit is making the world a better place and serving your clients or service area like your mission states, it’s important to address impact often. Ways to market your nonprofit’s impact include:
- Inform donors of their gifts’ impact during or after they make a gift. For example: “Your gift of $100 feeds a food-insecure family of four for an entire week.”
- Calculate and share each donor’s return on investment.
- Detail your nonprofit’s total impact in an annual report, such as the number of clients served or lives changed.
- Share client stories on social media, email, and other marketing materials.
All roads lead back to the donor; when you market impact, do so with your donor in mind. It isn’t just a nonprofit that’s creating change the donor’s gift acts as the catalyst. To nurture your current donor base and allow it to grow organically, your nonprofit should provide its audience with information that causes them to act. By using impact transparency, you can inspire and motivate people to give to a cause that is making a difference in the world.