- Wed, March 18 2009
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I did a post a little while back called Transparency Is the New Black.
But I’m not sure our sector is aware of this fact.
GuideStar has just released a report on how very non-transparent we are. To belabor the fashion metaphors, we’re not chiffon, we’re not even cotton. We’re a heavy tweed or maybe even Kevlar when it comes to transparency. And we’re wearing crocs with our Kevlar.
Dan Moore, transparency guru and GuideStar guy, presented on his new report on Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 call today (listen here). Among the highlights:
We are in the trust business. People have to trust us to give us money, and transparency and trust go hand in hand. Sadly, only one in ten people strongly believe charities are honest and ethical. Oy.
Check it. According to GuideStar:
Â· A high percentage (93 percent) of nonprofits are embracing the Internet to disclose information about their programs and services. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the organizations provided the names of the people who serve on their governing boards and the key staff who manage their organizations and oversee the delivery of programs and services.
Now for the bad, “what were they thinking” part. GuideStar says:
Â· Only 43 percent of the nonprofits surveyed posted their annual reports on their Web sites. Organizations with higher income levels were more likely to make their annual reports available via the Web.
Â· Only 13 percent posted their audited financial statements on their Web sites.
Â· Only 3 percent posted their respective IRS letters of determination on their Web sites.
GuideStar urges nonprofits to regularly update their Web sites with current, detailed program and evaluation information, post lots of information on your staff and board, post your annual report and financials, AND your IRS letter of determination. If you’re wondering, my own org’s site rates a cotton. We need to go chiffon with that IRS letter…
At the very least, please, please provide some basic information about where a donor’s money is going to go. It’s the number one thing a donor is going to ask themselves before they hit that Donate button. Don’t leave them hanging.
Transparency, BTW, is NOT a trend. So don’t hope this is a passing fad. Like black, it’s never going to go out of fashion.