Friday, January 9, 2009

Guest Post: Tips for Nonprofits on Being More Transparent

Thank you to Rich Cowles, Executive Director at the Charities Review Council for providing this week's guest post!

Tips for nonprofits on being more transparent

Your fundraising can use a leg-up in this economy. Taking pains to be transparent is one way to do so—including straight talk about how you’re dealing with the economy. Donors appreciate openness and straight talk.

You might even use an analogy to a household budget as a way of personalizing your organizational budget concerns. Just as families are having to make tough decisions and are cutting back, your organization can’t spend money it doesn’t have… show some of the tough decision making going on in your shop, and the implications in terms of program services that various cuts would have.

Donors also care about realizing a measurable return on their social investment—what difference are you making with their contributions? Frame your accomplishments in terms of mission-related impact on the community, not simply activities.

Take a look at Nonprofit Assistance Fund’s blog, Nonprofit Harvest. It has great tips on financial management and transparency.