If you want people to donate to your charity then they must trust you.  Trust that you’ll spend their money wisely and you don’t have any “crooks” on your staff.  (No offense intended; you know as well as I how often the news has a story of corruption in a nonprofit.  Sad but true.)

If you want people to join your association then they must trust you.  Trust that you’ll be around for awhile.  Trust that you can actually help their business or career.

Here are some ideas and tips for building and maintaining trust:

  • Every message isn’t an “ask” for money.
  • Make your office address EASY to find.  Type it large enough to read on everything you publish – online and print. 
  • Include the name of a person as the point of contact in your messages.  Share their phone number and email.
  • Website – again have the address of your org and names of people to contact for key questions easy to find.  Include phone numbers and emails.  Don’t limit yourself to a COLD form that people must fill out.
  • Charities – Share what percent of revenue received goes to the cause; and also share how the rest is spent.  Let them know why 100% can’t go to the cause for your org and how you continually work to keep expenses down.  This can be on the reply device of your direct mail, and also on your website.  Maybe include it in a list of facts on your “About Us” page.
  • Ever make a mistake?  Tell supporters about it in your newsletters and other communications.
  • Survey your supporters and ask candid questions.  Publish the results – including the less-than-favorable comments.  Then share your plan for addressing the “complaints.”
  • Have 3rd party endorsements and make them visible to print readers and web visitors.  Possibilities follow…
    • Charities can display ratings by watchdogs such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar. 
    • Re-publish (with permission) any articles from the press whether they appeared online or in print.  Have copies on your website.  When a new article appears, mention it in your newsletter and include a link to the full article on your website.  If it’s big enough news, send out a special email.
    • Publish any quotes of praise or endorsements (with candid photos whenever possible) by any popular celebrities or politicians.  They may be local, regional or national.
    • Link to a favorable mention of your org found in someone’s blog, tweet, or anywhere else. 
    • Social media is an endorsement.  Communicate so people want to “like” your Facebook updates and retweet your Tweets, and share your YouTube videos.
  • Share success stories with your donors or members.  Include testimonials from the people you help.

Those are just some of the ways you can build and maintain trust.  Do this well and you will enjoy more donations for your charity and more members in your associationTrust directly influences response and conversions in all your marketing.

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