3 ways to promote donor trust through nonprofit marketing

A third of potential donors don't trust charities, and that trend has existed for quite some time.

A poll conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found 35 percent of audiences have little or no confidence in nonprofits, with that number being nearly the same as in 2008. This consistent trend stems from public opinions about how fundraising gifts should be spent and biases about how to best help needy people.

You can increase donations and promote advocacy using these three strategies to create marketing that displays an organization's commitment to its cause:

1. Show where the money goes
The major factor contributing to donor distrust is how finances are spent. Over one-third of the people who told the Chronicle of Philanthropy they don't have confidence in charities said they feel too much money goes to administrative costs and overhead.

Donors don't want to make contributions unless they're sure the money will go to help the cause.

You can build trust by showing exactly what money was used for. Nonprofit websites, handouts and social media pages should show the people, animals, or communities aided by the charity's actions. If you can tie specific amounts raised to exact benefits or goals accomplished, people will know what their money accomplishes.

One idea is to show how nonprofit activities continue to benefit individuals or groups. Many people who distrust charities feel donations are temporary solutions. When you show how your organization's goals lead to real improvement, you demonstrate your own value and the importance of contributions.

2. Promote data security
Once a donor selects a nonprofit they trust to use their money effectively, they want to be sure the organization will be responsible with their financial data.

The Nonprofit Times reported the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse found over 100 nonprofit data breaches between 2005 and 2014.

Charity organizations may not be as big of targets as banks or major consumer brands, but they are responsible for restricting access to donor information. The easiest way to hack private data is to find ways to log into organization systems, possibly through unattended computer terminals or weak passwords.

When you use fraud protection services and prioritize data security training in your organization, it makes for excellent marketing materials. You should publish the security steps you take on the online page where you accept donations or during other fundraising activities.

3. Let people speak
One of the best ways to show donors they can trust your organization is to put a face on your nonprofit. Instead of being an anonymous collection of individuals, you should put your people on camera and let them speak for your cause. The Nonprofit Hub described how social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter provide channels for volunteers and board members to talk directly to audiences.

And with the launch of Facebook Live, your nonprofit can update donors and volunteers in real time and create a video for them to go back and watch later, if they'd prefer.

When representatives from your nonprofit say exactly why donations are necessary and what activities they themselves will take part in, it turns statements from marketing to promises. After all, it's much easier to trust someone you can see and hear.

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