Connections for Success



How Transparent is Your Not-For-Profit Organization?
Sarah G. Widlock

In today’s society everybody wants to know where exactly their money is going.  It is not enough anymore to simply solicit donations to “help your cause.”  More and more donors want to see the end result of their donation, and this could also be a factor as to whether they donate to your organization again or not.

Tell a Story

One way to increase transparency is to show how donations are being spent in your community.  Either share a specific story of how a recent fundraiser helped accomplish a particular task or event in the community, or tell a story of how your organization has positively impacted an individual person’s life. Donors love to hear stories of how their donations affect their neighbors and neighborhood.  Write a blog or a newsletter specifically identifying how moneys receives from a specific fundraising event can or will be used to help accomplish a particular task or event in the community.

Share Your Vision

Another way to be transparent is to discuss your overall future fundraising goals and vision for the future.  It is more than just sharing an overall dollar target or goal.  You could share specific examples of what the donations will accomplish and how they will affect the community surrounding the not-for-profit organization. This could not only increase the dollar donations coming in, but also the amount of volunteers willing to support your cause.

Your Donor/Volunteer’s Story

Interview a donor or a volunteer and share their story and reasoning for supporting the cause, or have the donor or volunteer write a letter that can be published in a newsletter or on the organization’s website. Testimonials are a great way to get a personal perspective about your organization and its mission and sharing it with the rest of your supporters.

Discuss Opportunities

Finally, consider discussing what would happen to your community if your organization disappeared tomorrow. Talk about the opportunities your organization provides by merely existing, but starting from the perspective of how the community or the world would be at a loss because your organization is not there to help your cause.

For more information, contact Sarah Widlock at [email protected], or call her at 312.670.7444. Visit to learn more about our Not-For-Profit Group.

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