Donor trust is essential for the success of any fundraising campaign. Without trust, potential donors are less likely to give, and existing donors are less likely to continue their support. Therefore, it’s essential for your nonprofit to take measures that build and deepen donor trust.
There are several ways to do this, including being transparent about how you use their donations, maintaining effective communication channels, and demonstrating impact. Remember that what works for one nonprofit might not work for another, so it is important to tailor your approach accordingly.
Here are 5 simple ways to build donor trust.
5 Ways to Build Donor Trust
1. Practice transparency every step of the way
Donors want to give to transparent organizations. Being transparent about how donations will be used is one of the most important ways to build donor trust. Supporters need to know that their money is being used in a way that aligns with their values and that their donations will make a tangible difference.
Your financial information is the primary transparency metric donors look for. Publish your Form 990 and be upfront about your costs and revenue. The law requires nonprofits to publicly disclose their tax and financial information. Although it can be time-consuming, it is a great way to build donor trust. Once you’ve done the hard work, make it easy for your donors to find. Don’t bury it behind tabs and pages. Nothing builds donor trust more than showing your financial reports.
According to a study, organizations with a GuideStar Seal of Transparency received 53% more donations than those without. And according to the GuideStar website, organizations that published their financial statements were viewed 2x more than those who just shared their information and programs.
Another way to build transparency is by inviting donors to take a behind-the-scenes tour of your operations. Even if they never take it, having an open-door policy shows that you’re honest with nothing to hide.
2. Communicate effectively
Maintaining effective communication channels is also crucial for building donor trust. Donors should feel like they are being kept up to date on the effect of their contributions and the impact they have. Accountability is just as important as transparency.
Stay organized in your communications with clear and consistent messaging. A marketing team can take care of this, but if you don’t have one, take the time to develop your brand and maintain constant communication across various platforms. Don’t neglect the effects of an updated website, social media profiles, and regular email newsletters.
3. Demonstrate impact
Demonstrating impact is another key way to build donor trust. Donors need to see that their money is making a difference in the lives of those they are helping to support. According to a Give.org report, an organization’s accomplishments are one of the primary factors in establishing donor trust.
Always have an annual report with fact-based figures reflecting your organization’s impact. Send this report regularly to donors and show what has been achieved in your organization’s long-term goals. If you can tie their donations to a specific program, then do so.
4. Protect donor privacy
Data privacy is a serious issue today, with cyberattacks increasing since the pandemic started. Data is valuable, and criminals will do anything to access it. Show donors that they can trust you by protecting their sensitive information and assuring them that you won’t sell their data to third parties. Take extra precautions in keeping your site and donor records secure, including adopting security protocols and practices that the entire organization follows.
By being proactive about security, you will show your donors they have nothing to fear when they trust you with their information.
5. Build donor relationships
Depending on your organization’s capacity, assigning a dedicated contact person (relationship manager) for every donor is a great idea. This person is the go-to individual that donors can reach if they have concerns or questions. The relationship manager can also be tasked to look after donors, ensuring they are promptly thanked and invited to company events.
A relationship manager will help donors become more comfortable with your organization. They now have someone they can contact, rather than dealing with your website. When donors have a personal connection with a charity, their confidence rises, and their connection deepens. A relationship manager gives your charity a human element.
If a relationship manager is out of the question due to staff limitations, you can partner with us and allow our donor relationship specialists to help you drive meaningful relationships with your supporters.
Donor Trust is the Foundation of a Successful Nonprofit Organization
Every positive transaction involves two parties that trust each other. In for-profit companies, customers trust an organization because of the quality of products or services. For nonprofits, building donor trust involves a promise to make a better world. You must also establish a strong emotional connection and demonstrate transparency and accountability.
When donor trust is strong, it can lead to more consistent and reliable support for your organization.