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1000 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Demonstrate Transparency

Read the full article that I published on Linked In today about why it's so important that nonprofits demonstrate transparency.

And here are the 6 easy ways that nonprofits can accomplish this using one's website.

  1. Align your organization with the ratings criteria of independent nonprofit rating sites like Charity Navigator whose ratings are driven by two key criteria, financial health and accountability and transparency. Charity Navigator develops its scores based on “whether the charity makes it easy for donors to find critical information about the organization” and largely uses information collected from charities’ websites to establish its rating.

  2. Publish your IRS 990 tax form on your website. This form shows like no other that money is being spent well by your organization, lists its board members and its major supporters as required by the IRS to maintain a nonprofit’s special tax status. And only if you have a major donor who takes issue with this, use a Sharpie pen to block them out.

  3. Introduce your staff. Salaries are a significant part of a nonprofit’s programming expenses, and donors want to see that programs are in capable hands.

  4. Feature your board members. Donors want to see that smart, accomplished people are volunteering their time to provide leadership support of your mission. Charity Navigator wants to see that there are at least five independent board members that make up a voting majority.

  5. Use photographs for board members and staff. Even if your organization is on the road to achieving greater diversity, inclusion, and belonging practices, using photographs keeps your organization honest about where you are, motivates positive change, and ultimately showcases progress.

  6. Publish your annual report on your website. Some donors might feel intimidated by the 990 tax form, and seek easy-to-digest graphics that showcase your budget and annual trends, your impact, and the names of your donors who have trusted you with their support.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything a nonprofit can be doing to build trust with a donor, but it's the basis for igniting generosity a thousand times over.

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