What do our recent posts — Take This To Your CEO & Board Today and Invitation: 2nd US Donor Commitment Study — have in common? Other than that they are both ‘must read’?

Donor trust.

The first post describes how some charities and their agencies are doing their damn best to destroy donor trust in charities.

The second talks about how to build donor commitment … which assumes a fundamental platform of trust.

Here’s what communications maven Tom Ahern says in his latest e-newsletter …

“Be aware: charities are guilty until proven innocent.” Followed by …

“One real reason renewal rates, retention rates, and long-term loyalty stubbornly remain so abysmally low is because donor skepticism has been left to fester.”

Now, Tom isn’t actually talking about fraud. Although that might be the burning topic in a few weeks (stay tuned).

He’s talking about a too common failure of nonprofits to communicate effectively with donors …

“You have to remind them of your organization’s dedication to transparency, accountability, and financial health frequently … on your website, in your direct mail, in your face-to-face solicitations, and in every issue of your newsletter.”

To which I would add … and it needs to be the truth!

Tom

P.S. Check out this DonorVoice study on donor commitment. As Roger said yesterday, this study documents empirically that a donor who feels good about an organization actually gives more, more frequently and over a longer period.

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