Out of the Mouths of Babes ...
As Jeff Brooks so eloquently points out, the little things — like timely thank-you letters — often matter as much as big things such as your website.
Prove your impact
In today’s cynical world — saturated with marketing promises — the impact of the first four principles fizzles out quickly if you can’t demonstrate that what your organization does is working. To use an old metaphor, proof of impact is like railway sleepers. Once they’re in place, you can lay even more tracks that will send your momentum train further than you ever imagined it could go.
Charity: Water is a master at this, using video, photos and Google maps to show the impact of completed water projects. It creates a virtuous cycle, as satisfied donors then share the Charity: Water story with more and more people.
The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect. Recently Charity: Water had to retract a claim about duration of impact. It posted a thorough explanation on its blog about why it could no longer confidently state that an individual would receive clean water for 20 years through its projects.
According to Rod Arnold, Charity: Water’s chief operating officer, supporter reaction was very positive. Charity: Water had demonstrated that it valued its constituents as equal partners who deserved the truth — not as faceless donors who were only as good as their last gift.
Again, this principle should be a no-brainer for charities of all ages and sizes. You’re doing good work, so invest the time and effort needed to prove it.
There you have them — five principles that characterize today’s hottest young nonprofits. Will following them make your organization a recognized name? Maybe, maybe not. But it will help you build a stronger, more loyal base of supporters for your work. FS