It isn’t hard to hear the word “transparency” in America, and sometimes the concept is even put into practice.
Generally, transparency is considered as something required of entities that are asking for something: politicians seeking votes, companies seeking to build new plants, nonprofit organizations seeking money.
When it comes to nonprofits, however, donor transparency can actually be a useful means of fundraising. In their book “The Generosity Network” Jennifer McCrea, Jeffrey C. Walker and Karl Weber write that donor transparency means supporters talking candidly about their reasons for giving. This includes:
- How important it is for a donor to get personal, public recognition for his/her acts of generosity. For some donors recognition is all-important; for others it’s to be avoided at all costs.
- Whose approval is necessary before a sizable contribution can be made. Spouse, parent, child, business partner?
- The deeply personal motivation behind a gift – which is different for everyone.
- The kind of connection the donor wants to have with the organization. Some people want to be consulted regularly; others want anything but that.
- The larger role played by charity in the donor’s life. Many people become philanthropists because of a life-changing experience.
- The doubts and worries the donor might have about giving. Many donors have concerns about spending, competence or realistic chances for success, but they are reluctant to voice them.