No wise charity leaders out there or fundraising will be suggesting that their organization plan its Christmas appeal around covering administration costs this season. However as wise leaders understand we do have to invest in our administration or our fundraising to increase our ability to make the impact our charity is intended to make. Imagine if a friend suggested that you invest in the favorite companies stock. The company bragged that it invested no money on staff, operations ,technology or training and development. You might thing that this company might not be a good long term investment. However Marina Glogovac President and CEO of CanadaHelps.org, points out in her recent Huffington Post blogpost that this is what we do to charities when we expect them to direct donations. We encourage or demand of them that they spend money only on direct programs not the other things we would expect a for profit company to do. Below is a link to a vlog post that further covers this double standard we have for charities:
Weber Shandwick has been auditing the on-line presence of CEOs from the world’s largest companies since 2010. Find out what their latest findings are and how these might be relevant to a CEO leading a charity or NPO organization.
Having the trust of your community, your donors and your supporters is of critical importance to a charity and the charitable sector as whole. The good news is in Canada we do have a lot of trust from the public in general. A research review published on the Nonprofit MarCommunity reports the level of trust Canadians have in the sector. Bob Wyatt (E.D for the Muttart Foundation) is quoted as saying: There’s some very good news in Talking about Charities. People trust us, they know that we improve the quality-of-life of the people we serve and they recognize the importance of charities to Canadians and those outside Canada who we serve.”
It is interesting that the report also suggests that the nonprofit sector is one of the most trusted sectors in Canada. It goes on to state that 79% of Canadians have some or a lot of trust in charities. This is higher than the trust afforded to the federal government (45%), provincial governments (44%) local governments (57%) the media (53%) and major corporations (41%)
Within the charitable sector itself there are varying levels of trust. Working for a children’s charity in the healthcare area, I was happy to read that hospitals and children’s charities were rate highest in the public’s level of trust (86% and 82%). Having the public’s trust ensures that we have legislative, financial/ donor and volunteer support to carry out our mission. However the report does also provide some cautions which charities and the sector as a whole should attend to. The report indicates that a significant number of Canadians who:” don’t believe we spend money wisely” and that we don’t:” do a very good job telling them about ourselves.
If you are a leader who volunteers or is employed by a charity or a MarComm professional you should be using every opportunity to tell your community and stakeholders how you are spending their money and what difference it is making. Specifically you should be talking about the impact of your program and services. Typically we talk about these things in our annual report, but charities should use every vehicle available to them. Social media, your website, letters of thanks to volunteers and donors are all tools to spread your message about how funds are being utilized and the impact you are having.
Bob Wyatt summarizes:” We have to demonstrate that we continue to deserve their trust. And we have to point out to them that charities are probably more transparent and accountable than any other segment of our society. We can’t do this only as a group of individual agencies we have to do that of course, but we also have to start learning to speak as a sector. And we had better start learning to do that soon. “
NonProfit MarComm Community (2014) Perception and trust: can marketing communications help with
public trust in charities?: Non Profit MarComm Community; Your guide to marketing
communications for a cause website as retrieved from :