How to build bonds of trust with your donors

One of the things that makes fundraising hard is the lack of trust many donors have for nonprofit organizations. A steady stream of charity scandals, amplified by the press, which frequently has added wide innuendoes, has created an atmosphere is distrust.

Deserve it or not — and that vast majority of organizations don’t deserve it — our sector has low trust, which means donors are slow to give and reluctant to commit.

The Bloomerang blog has help at How Transparency Drives Donor Loyalty:

As in all relationships, the relationship between donors and fundraisers all boils down to trust. If your donors trust you and believe that your nonprofit is forthcoming and authentic, then they’ll be more likely to stay involved and give donations down the road. But it’s up to you to give them the information they need to establish that trust.

Bloomerang also suggests a number of things you can do to foster loyalty through transparency:

  • Publishing the IRS Form 990 on your website
  • Distributing an annual report detailing impact, client stories, and basic financials.
  • Keeping your information on Charity Navigator and Guidestar up-to-date
  • Getting the endorsement of a public figure in your community, as well as the Better Business Bureau
  • Listing the names and roles of your board of directors directly on your website
  • Regularly updating your donors on program results through email, direct mail, your website, or even social media

These are important steps that can help solidify your relationships with donors.


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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.

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