It can be easy to assume that our donors KNOW what’s going on; that they spend as many hours as we do thinking about our organization and how we can fund the mission. But the reality is that unless we are intentionally transparent, donors can end up feeling at best confused, and at worst, deceived.

According to H. Art Taylor, President and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “Transparency is one of the most powerful tools in helping to build strong, trusting relationships with your donors and the public.” He has a few suggestions for what we can do to increase transparency in our everyday fundraising activities. I’ll summarize them here:

1. Make fundraising goals and appeals clear

Instead of assuming that donors will figure it out, we need to make our goals and our appeals explicit and obvious. Appeal information should include where and how donated funds are used. If you hesitate to include this information, ask yourself why. If the donor really knew, would they still make a gift? If you’re not sure, are you actually deceiving the donor on purpose?

2. Offer two-way responsiveness

By soliciting feedback from your donors for what is going well and what can be improved, you offer the ultimate in transparency. But that isn’t the best part. This transparency can build a deeper and more trusting relationship with your supporters, which can lead to loyalty. Donor retention is key to long term success.

3. Harness social media channels to offer key insights

We’re always talking about how to raise money on social media, but do we spend enough time considering how social media can increase donor trust? Try sharing ways you are improving your organization. Or try demonstrating how previous donations were used to make an impact.

You can find lots more information about what donors expect and how nonprofit organizations can meet those expectations at