Earn Donor’s Trust – Put Yourself in Their Shoes
5 Ways To Earn Your Donors’ Trust
One of the trickiest things that we, as fundraisers, need to remember is that while WE know and love our organization, our donors are not sitting on our shoulders, observing how great the programs are working, how may people we are serving, or how efficiently we’re operating.
Instead, donors may actually be skeptical about us, our organization, our impact, or even the people we serve.
I believe that donors are sometimes taking a small (or large) step outside their comfort zone when they choose to make a gift. They most definitely want to trust and know their donation is being well used and is making an impact. It’s our job to take that discomfort away so they actually have confidence in knowing this is the case.When donors have confidence in the gifts they give, there’s a great chance they can become an ambassador for your mission, and share why they give to their friends and family.
Here are a five ideas of how to increase this confidence:
- Tell a great story. (Not anything fictional, I don’t mean that.) Be sure that you’re telling real life stories about the work that you do through the experiences of those you serve. If you can find a transformational story that changed the lives of those you’ve served AND put your donor right smack in the middle of it, this is your sweet spot.
Because, truly, without their help, the transformation would not have occurred.
- Gather and share donor testimonials. This is a huge credibility builder because we care about what our peers think, and what they do. So, if you have huge fans, suggest they articulate why they’re a fan, so that you can share it with your audience.
- Longevity is important. I know (because I’ve been there) that it’s difficult to be the newest organization in your category. It can be tough to raise money when you don’t have a proven track record yet. So, if you do – take advantage of those years and let folks know how long you’ve been around. Don’t take this for granted – it’s important.
- Be transparent in everything you do, especially with your financials. Make sure that your annual report and IRS forms are readily available to your donors – and let them know they are available to them at any time.
- Know how to talk about scale. Donors want to know that you’re able to serve in the way that you claim. And, they don’t want to see you fail. Share about your growth in mindful, intentional ways rather than sharing lots of numbers and statistics.
Some statistics are important to show how far we’ve come, and to illustrate impact. But, too much will start to feel institutional and will remove the human element that is so important to our communication.
These are a few great ways to increase your credibility with donors. Also, it’s best that you don’t simply leave these golden nuggets on your website to (hopefully) be discovered. Share this information in your pitch, in your email updates, and where ever it feels timely and natural in a conversation.