This article is part of a series on trust-building for small nonprofits. I invite you to access the series on my blog.
Who are you solving problems for?
What problem are you solving?
Over what period of time?
If your organization is operating under a strategic plan that clearly answers these questions, then your team should be on the same page when it comes to the results you are working toward.
Impact organizations that set objectives to make big changes benefitting people and the planet tend to view results as opportunities, not as threats and not as “nice to have.”
Delivering results and improving on past performance are two ways to build trust with your clients, your donors, and with your community.
Impact organizations of <$500k often feel challenged to show results.
After all, you don’t have a research budget, you don’t employ an evaluation specialist, and day-to-day service delivery is a high priority that keeps your small team busy.
But as Erika Hall points out in her book, Just Enough Research, a simplified research plan – one that fits the specific needs of your organization — is something you can’t afford NOT to have.
Hall’s guide helps you plan to gather data on what is happening (qualitative), how much is happening (quantitative) and why it is happening (qualitative).
It makes sense that your donors, clients and community would want to know these same things.
Going back to our conversation on transparency, sharing information on results and sharing the context of your work, helps you build trust.
Sometimes the overly broad aspirations of a mission statement can result in stakeholders having deeply felt but divergent views about what the organization’s chief priorities ought to be.
Clarity of mission and clarity in developing your current year goals can set you up to get the right things done.
Your supporters expect results. Be accountable for your performance without making excuses.
Your planning sets you up to successfully deliver the right results.
Content types for trust tag #6 deliver results:
- Celebrate results event
- New initiative kick-off w call to action
- Feature staff/funding partner and staff/volunteer relationships
- Year in review animated/video results
- Mission moment – connect actions back to mission statement
Your organization doesn’t have to be perfect.
To build trust, you just need to show you are open to improving, to increasing your capabilities and to doing what it takes to get results.
Invite others to celebrate your successes and to learn from the challenges you’ve faced.
Invest in training for the board and the staff to ensure you’ve lessened impediments to getting results.
Invest in your fundraising operation. Be realistic about what it takes to get results and be unafraid in pursuing the funding needed to solve the problems you’ve committed to.
Be proactive in pursuit of the impact you want to have and the funding required to get there.
Allow your community to feel informed about how you align your actions with your goals.
Content types for trust tag #7 get better
- Training day message
- Aspire message – what the people you serve aspire to
- Update on progress
- Coming up short – but continuing
- Let’s solve this together – what do you think?
- What getting better means for us right now
P.S. Ready to build more trust into your content strategy? Let’s work together!
P.S.S. – Art to lift the nonprofit executive spirit! Everyday inspiration.