Your donors don’t trust you

Almost everyone thinks your organization is a fraud.

At least, that should be your working assumption. Years of stupid charity scandals (plus media-hyped non-scandals about charity salaries and other bogus topics) have caused a lot of people to distrust the nonprofit sector in general.

That includes you.

It’s one of the main reasons people don’t donate: They think you’ll either rip them off or incompetently fritter away their generosity.

Earning the trust of your donors should be one of your top priorities.

Here are some things not to do, from the Bloomerang blog, at 10 Ways to Damage Donor Trust:


  1. A slow gift acknowledgement
  2. A lack of personalized communications
  3. Ignoring communication preferences
  4. Surveying, and ignoring the response
  5. Not offering opportunities to support specific projects of funds
  6. Not reporting on campaign, project or fund results
  7. Not recording meeting details (after meetings with donors)
  8. Recognizing donations, but not volunteerism
  9. Treating referrals poorly
  10. Not associating a gift from my business, family foundation or charitable giving fund to me

And this: Don’t have a scandal! Don’t hire someone who will. Don’t work with partners who will lead you astray!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.