Many of us, as the year comes to a close, are considering where and how to make the most meaningful year-end gift. I’ve been writing about that from my perspective as the founder of Help One Now.

In part one, I talked about why giving is so meaningful to the donor. In part two, I wrote about what the relationship should look like between the donor and the org. In this final post, I add some tangible outcomes each donor should expect when they give.

1) Transparency:

As a donor, you have every right to understand where your funds are going to and how they were used. Generally speaking, you’re going to support an organization that you trust — one that has a proven track record. So, you just need to know the basics.

Especially if you are a new donor, that organization should be doing everything within their power (and staffing) to help you understand how your funds are used. In other words, they should leave no stone unturned to give you, the donor, the transparency that is expected.

This is how you build trust. Once trust is established, both the organization and the donor can settle into a healthy rhythm because expectations have been met by both parties and together, the impact is obvious!

2) Story:

This is a great gift to a donor. The hope is for you to actually see the impact. That means good storytelling is vital.

Now, to be clear, when you see a story in photos, videos or words, the priority of the story is dignity.  Often times, in order to raise more money, nonprofits will tell stories that can degrade and bring shame to those who are suffering — this is simply not okay! But when stories are told with humility, dignity, and respect, donors get a chance to see the progress through the story.

At Help One Now, we’re always sending our donors a story, it’s one way that we’re transparent and held accountable. We use the story as a way to help prove our impact but also as a tool for transformation for the donor. It’s beautiful when a donor gets to see their generosity lived out in the most tangible ways… kids are fed, schools are built, victims are rescued and families are empowered. It all comes alive through good storytelling.

3) Relationship:

As a donor, you should feel connected to the organization that you are giving too. That relationship might vary based on the size of the ogranization, but this is critical to success! When a donor and organization partner long term, that is when the greatest overall impact is made.

At Help One Now, we do our best (though it’s never perfect), to help people feel connected to us. My hope is when a first-time donor gives to Help One Now, they start the journey to feel like they are seen, known and cared for.  We send personal videos, hand-written thank you notes, and all sorts of impact videos. This is just a small gift that we can give to those who are being generous.

Now, to be clear — some donors expectations are far more than we can meet. This is the struggle: trying to find the balance and not disappointing the donor, but also building healthy boundaries so can continue to focus on the good work we do.

4) Tools:

Every donor should be offered resources so they can share the story and help get family, friends and their networks involved. When a new donor starts to give to Help One Now, it’s almost never a cold lead from a search engine.

Almost two-thirds of our donor base heard about us from someone they trust, whether an influencer, a friend, or a family member.  Usually they give because a current donor told them about us. Or maybe they saw a story in a current donors social feed or through influencer marketing. Someone they love and trust has advocated for Help One Now.

Often, a mistake nonprofit leaders make is that they assume their donors won’t share their experience with their networks. It’s not true

Give donors tools that are simple, easy and powerful and they will use those tools as a powerful marketing engine. Good donors are like cheerleaders, they will advocate for you if you give them a way to help.  Give your donors tools and and they will lead new donors to you. Remember: they are giving because they also care about the mission!

Hopefully, these three articles are helpful. The big question is very straightforward: Is the nonprofit solving the problem and will donors understand the best way that they can help?. If so, together in partnership, the nonprofit and the donor can help make the world brighter and help others flourish in the process.

Together We Build!

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