More Reason for Transperancy

​Seeing the item in the NZ Herald about the Halberg Trust  just reinforces that even more transperancy is needing in the charity sector.

There’s no denying that the amount of money raised, versus amounts distrubuted, used, will be different – there will be operational costs. 

But when people see high operational costs versus distributions they will be concerned, ask questions and want answers; real answers not just some lip service.

It’s time, nah, it’s long overdue for organisations to be more open about their income v expenditures, they can’t simply leave it until people ask questions; all this does is raise more quesions, not only of the organisation concerned, but of the sector as a whole.

Public Perception of Charities

Often we hear (still) about people having concerns about charities, especially around whether an organisation is genuine, that it’s being managed appropriately and that funds are being used for what they’re intended.

Even if a single person has concerns about an organisation and raises this in a public way, either just with friends or on their social media pages it can have an impact on the sector as a whole, but more importantly on that one individual charity they are “speaking” about.

One of the often cited issues people have is the level of remuneration of those running an organisation, as well as the costs associated with running the organisation in general.

People don’t always appreciate that having the right people at the helm can require a higher than expected remuneration package; with people thinking why should I give to an organisation where the CEO etc. are earning more than them.

Organisations are constantly looking for ways to keep their costs down, using volunteers and networks to source resources and funds that can be used to help generate additional income at little or no cost to the organisation.

Listen to what donors and potential supporters ask when being approached for donations; often they’ll ask “how much of my donation will get to where it’s needed?” or, “what percentage of my donation is absorbed in operational costs?”

We all know it takes money to run an organisation, what needs to happen is for organisations to simply show how money is being used, this could be included in updates to supporters and, on organisations websites.

Supporters (in New Zealand) are able to readily access financial information about any registered charity through the Charity Services website. The information available shows (in most cases) the cost of fundraising, total salaries and a myriad of other information. Organisations need to not expect supporters to go searching, they need to be more open and make this information readily available, either in its entirety or in graph form to demonstrate that funds are being used appropriately and in doing so make it easier for people to make the decision to support.

Supporters in New Zealand have a wide choice of organisations they can support, with in excess of 27,000 registered charities, that’s about one registered charity for every 162 per person. By making information more readily available your organisation could see new supporters coming on board with little effort needed on your part; all you need to do is be transparent.

With reports such as Public trust and confidence in charities being published it’s time for organisations to spend time to look at themselves and see if they are meeting the expectations of the public.

So, before you start your next fundraising drive, make information your supporters (current and potential) need to make the decision to support easily accessible, demonstrate that you are using funds prudently.

Are you sharing the information people want, or just showing them what you want them to see?

As a supporter, do you want to know your money is being used appropriately before supporting or continuing support?

See also
Fundraising Costs

Being an Open Book

Increase Your Revenue from Your Donors

To Incentivise or Not

When is a charity a charity

Money isn’t Everything

Public trust and Confidence in Charities (Survey Results)