Easier Said than Done: Fundraising in the Age of Cynicism
I realize that means you're raising restricted funds, something many nonprofits are terrified of doing. It might be time to count the cost of this old-marketing practice. In a cynical marketplace, it might be more than you can afford.
Give donors choices
Specificity is good. And more specificity is better. Letting donors direct their giving sends a clear signal that what they're doing is real.
Have credentials and show them
Make sure you qualify for credentials from watchdogs like the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, or other local or niche groups. Then make their logos visible. It doesn't matter what you or I might think of the usefulness or completeness of such ratings. Donors look for these things, so bite the bullet and put them ?out there.
And watchdogs aren't the only source of credentials that can help donors trust you. Other types include:
• Endorsements from respected celebrities. (Careful: The wrong celebrity can do more harm than good.)
• Endorsements from other organizations.
• Ratings or reviews from trusted publications or sites.
Let donors speak for you
People trust other people more than they trust organizations and institutions. Study after study shows that most people make buying decisions only after reading user reviews. It's this social proof that helps overcome distrust of sellers, who, after all, have no interest in giving unbiased views of what they sell.
It's becoming the same with charity. Donors will look for social proof that it is what it says it is. Give donors a voice in your fundraising. This is easiest to do online, but even in noninteractive media, you can have donors talking, sharing their good experiences and why they give.
Be open about your finances and governance
Freely sharing information says a lot to donors about your trustworthiness. Make it easy for them to see your financial statement, annual report and IRS 990 forms. Post them, and publicize where they can be found.