I want to give an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ to Richard Perry’s article recently in NonProfitPRO titled, What Rights Do Your Donors Have?

The short answer would be … every right!

But Richard was more thoughtful. Here’s his list of ‘donor rights’:

  1. To be treated as a partner.
    [Not a cash machine.]
  2. To know how the funds they give are being used and that a real difference is being made.
    [I believe these two deserve individual status.]
  3. To have any question they ask answered in a timely, courteous and professional manner.
    [Total transparency, implying total honesty.]
  4. To have access to organization’s information and program sites.
  5. To know that there is a responsible, governing, independent board.
    [A building block of trust.]
  6. To have their personal information kept confidential and private and their requests honored.
    [This is another case of two distinct issues that are equally deserving of mention. The privacy part speaks for itself. But when Richard talks of “their requests honored”, he’s referring to respecting the communication preferences of individual donors. I think that ‘donor right’ should have its own place in the sun.]

I think this is a damn good list. Other than my quibbles that would make this an 8-point list, I can’t think of anything to add. And I note happily that he hasn’t blessed any notion of an ‘overhead cap’ donor right.

Here’s the full article.

In discussing the expectation that any donor question should be answered, Richard suggests asking: “Is there any question a donor could ask the leadership of your organization that they would not be willing to answer?”

I found that question intriguing.

Does your nonprofit have any secrets you keep from donors? How did that situation and attitude come about? Is it really defensible?


This article was posted in: Donor Centricity, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Fundraising philosophy/profession, Nonprofit management, Transparency.
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