Shelley Feist

What Will You Think, Say and Do in 2022? Lead With Your Values in Content Creation.  

photo Shelley Feist

This is the second post in a series on trust and nonprofits.  I also post weekly on LinkedIn.   


I always find a lot to unpack from the Edelman Trust Barometer. 

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer shows a five-point drop in Americans’ trust in nonprofits between 2020 and 2021.  Trust in all four sectors (nonprofits, business, media and government) fell between 3-6 points in this report, and business remains the most trusted sector.   (See my prior post Trust: Five Recent Developments Nonprofits Should Know).

Are you in the business of building trust?

I always felt that as a nonprofit executive director the most valuable asset I was managing was the organization’s reputation, and the most important task I could focus on was to build trust.

Independent Sector’s 2021 Nonprofit Sector Health Report says, “research shows nonprofits can strengthen trust by conveying integrity and clarity of purpose.”

In this post, I’m already tossing around several concepts – trust, integrity, and reputation.  

In this and future posts I’ll be exploring these concepts and hopefully providing key takeaways that help you as a nonprofit leader to strengthen your organization at this challenging time.

Are you in alignment?

The terrific blog on ethical leadership by Linda Fisher Thornton includes a deeper dive into integrity.  Fisher Thornton extrapolates the individual meaning of integrity, to an organizational meaning of integrity as full alignment in what an organization thinks, says and does.

Fisher Thornton says values alignment is the foundation of organizational integrity.   So, start with values.

Doing a values check-in

What high-level values does your organization live, breathe and act on?

Have you recently checked in on values and considered reinforcing core values through dialogue with your board, staff and donors?   

Which high-level ethical values do you uphold in your organization?  How do you demonstrate those values?

Private companies are increasingly seeing the competitive advantage in articulating their core values to customers.

Your organization is likely continually acting on your core values in your work with others. 

Ensure those core values are articulated internally and externally. 

What will you think, say and do in 2022?

If a core value is that your client’s privacy is never compromised, what will you as an organization think, say, and do around client privacy?

If kindness is a core value, what will you as an organization think, say and do to uphold this core value – consistently?

Your organization is committed to not hurting people or the planet.  How, in practice, do you operate from this core value?   How does this come through in your storytelling?

Getting clarity around values is fundamental to presenting your organization to the world.

Patagonia has a web page dedicated to its four high-level values. 

Communicating organizational values and showing up with integrity are concepts you build into your strategic plan and your subsequent content strategy.

If you are looking for fresh eyes on your 2022 content strategy, or your strategic plan, let’s schedule a chat

P.S.  Have you taken the quiz?  The 2022 Content Clarity Quiz for Nonprofits gives you a quick read on your organization’s readiness to draw people to your cause!


P.S.S.  – Art to lift the nonprofit executive spirit!  Color me happier.

I had a great time playing with colors with this online color palette generator.  You can upload a photo or graphic and it will choose a related color palette to go with it.  Even better, registration is not required.  Give yourself a 15 minute break to play with color.  

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