12 Guides for Transparency to Build Donor Confidence
Nonprofits hold a public trust, and in return for tax advantages, they have a moral and legal obligation for transparency.
While the primary role for fiduciary responsibility lies with the board, staffs also have a moral obligation to be watchdogs. Often staffs are in the best position to see current or approaching transgressions.
- Having financial information on your website.
- Not hiding compensation such as deferred compensation and other benefits from the full board and key stakeholders.
- Having program measures in place and reporting them to investors.
- Honest communication from the board when the organization has gone adrift.
- Open CEO search processes that reflect the organization's culture and values.
- Fulfilling commitments made in gift agreements and keeping the donor informed.
- Enforcing conflict of interest policies with the board and senior staff.
- Being up-front and consistent in reporting fundraising and other administrative costs.
- Being honest and responsive with media inquiries.
- Having whistleblower procedures that are vetted by a committee and protections for those who come forward.
- Participating in charity-rating programs.
- Honestly reporting benchmarking information for comparable ratings.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Truth never damages a cause that is just." A culture of transparency is a big commitment and can be tough. But it is the right commitment and one that builds confidence in donors, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.