Connections for Success



Are You Thinking About Transparency?

Did you know that your organization’s transparency could be hindering your support, including donations, volunteers and positive press? All institutions, including not-for-profits, are seeing an erosion of trust by the public.

Donors are not just giving blindly, and there is an increasingly savvy and information–hungry public that seeks out data for informed decisions and support. It is long believed that proactive transparency—sharing information beyond that required by the IRS and state charity officials—plays a vital role in helping not-for-profits build trust and inspire donors for their support.

Increase your Transparency

Here are five easy steps to increase your not-for-profit’s transparency:

  1. Regularly update your organization’s website with current, detailed program and evaluation information, including information regarding evidence-based evaluation metrics and the underlying theory of change;
  2. Post board and key staff members’ names, titles and biographies that highlight each person’s skills and contributions;
  3. Post the organization’s annual report on your website;
  4. Post any audited financial statements on your website; and
  5. Post the organization’s IRS letter of determination on your website.

This is a practical starting point for many not-for-profits because it is consistent with the type of information that they are required to make available for public inspection.

The best transparency policy will be one guided by an organization’s mission, catered to its supporters/potential supporters and considerate of the organization’s needs, policies and legal issues.

For more information, contact Katherine Kannaby at 312.670.7444. Visit to learn more about our Not-For-Profit Group.

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Forward Thinking