Your donors are the lifeblood of your nonprofit — in many cases, they keep the lights on. If one of your goals is to boost one-time and repeat donations, building trust can help. When donors believe that you’re working hard and doing good in the community, they can give with confidence.
Be Transparent With Financial Information
Chances are, honesty and transparency are important to your donors. In fact, the Angus Reid Institute found that 61% of Canadians would give more to charities if they felt more confident about where their money is going. As a nonprofit, you can help by making your financial information public and easy to find on your website. Intimidating accounting reports probably won’t do the trick. Instead, it’s helpful to present the information in a way that’s easy for your donors to understand. Colorful, eye-catching charts and infographics are great options. Keep in mind that many of your donors might not be understand how nonprofits work, so saying that 25% of donations go to "administrative expenses" could be confusing. A better option is to explain the costs and why they’re important by saying something like, "We put 25% of your donation toward administrative costs, which include our building rent and utilities. This also includes salaries for our team of five employees, who are experts in securing building permits, negotiating deals with suppliers, and building cost-effective houses for low-income families in Alberta."
Show Your Organization’s Results
Many Canadians feel that they should be donating more to charity. However, the Angus Reid Institute study found that they’re also worried about how effective nonprofits are. You can ease this fear and build trust by showing how you help. After you deliver 40 care packages to people following an earthquake, write a quick email or thank-you letter to each person who donated to let them know how they helped one of the victims. You might include a picture of a family using the supplies (with permission, of course), or show one of your staff members looking at damaged homes. A personal story is also powerful: "Joe lost his home in the earthquake and is living in a shelter. Thanks to your donation, we were able to give him a supply of blankets and new clothing while he figures out how to start over." This creates an emotional connection and shows your donors that you’re using their money wisely. You can also share stories on your website or social media pages to build trust among people who are considering donating.
Encourage Your Donors to Volunteer
If you’re like many nonprofits, you make every penny count. Volunteering gives your donors the chance to see that in action. It can also go a long way toward building trust. After all, as soon as they see how hard your staff work and how you make the most of your space, donors understand that you’re stretching each dollar. The key to getting donors in the door? Provide lots of opportunities. You might start small with an envelope-stuffing party, or use a seasonal event like a community spring cleanup. When you offer a variety of volunteering options, it’s easier for donors to find one that sounds accessible.
Creating trust with your donors is an ongoing process — one that can do wonders for your nonprofit. As your donors feel more confident in what you’re doing, they may be more likely to give their money and their time to help your cause.