Donors are looking for more transparency, and here's how to supply it

Nonprofits are expected to be institutions of a higher moral standard. Organizations that work for the betterment of others, championing altruism while the rest of the business community chases profits, charities should operate honestly. However, a recent survey revealed that many people, in fact most, feel uneasy about how their donations are being spent.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, a global research firm, explored how adults in the United States currently look at the charitable foundations they're donating to. Almost half of respondents filled out a donation form within the past year, but 59 percent admitted that they worry about their money being spent on bloated salaries for the administration. Donors fear their gifts are being appropriated on things that aren't crucial to the mission of the cause, and it impacts their willingness to give.

Give donors a window
Data from YouGov's report showed that 45 percent of contributors are apprehensive about donating, because they fear that instead of raising money for charity, they're giving to a political or religious cause they don't support. These responses demonstrate an inability for many organizations to establish truly transparent practices.

Use your website
Keeping your organization online is not only a good way to attract donors and advertise your mission, but it gives you the opportunity to let donors see another side of operations. It might not be the most eye-catching information, but letting donors see inside details, such as annual financial reporting and IRS documentation, can help foster the trust that's needed in any relationship, especially one that involves time and money.

Stay social
Like your charity's website, social media will be a crucial element of any sustainable fundraising strategy. But you can also use popular platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to connect with your donors on a more personal level.

Start conversations with contributors. Ask them what they'd like to see from your charity, what hopes they have for their donations and if they'd like to help out in more ways than just monetary gifts. You can post pictures and videos giving readers an inside look into your operations. Don't just tell them where their donations are going, show them. Contributors will no doubt appreciate seeing the results of their generosity. They like to know their efforts are actually making a difference, leading to more trust in the organization, as well as a bigger willingness to give continually.

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