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Trust in charities is at an all-time low, falling from 52 per cent in 2016 to 48 per cent.

As a result, Australians are giving less than ever before, with Australia having slipped out of the top five giving countries overall. 

The Impact Suites Co-founder, Chris Eigeland, has made five suggestions for not-for-profits and charities on how to improve donor confidence and build trust.

  1. Be consistent

Chris said that if you want someone to donate to your cause, you need to position yourself consistently, which will help clarify your message.  

“Consistency is one of the most important factors in branding because it shows your supporters who you are and what your charity does,” Chris said.

“Supporters are more likely to give to charities that have invested in a consistent brand image.

“When your messaging, design and actions are inconsistent, audiences don’t know what to expect,” he said.

  1. Communicate effectively

Chris said that written communications should be simple and transparent to clearly define goals.

“Charities need to draft thorough, considered communications strategies that speak to their stakeholders honestly through the mediums and channels they use,” Chris said.

“Donors need simple, well-presented information that gives absolute clarity about where their money goes and what their support for the organisation means.

 “People want to hear about the positive differences their donations have made to people’s lives.

“The more often you thank and more clearly you communicate impact, the more inspired a donor will be to trust your organisation and continue giving.

“It is important that the public are a part of these conversations: that they are being talked with, rather than to.

“In order to do this, organisations need to communicate with their donors – ask for advice, create two-way dialogue and engage,” he said.

  1. Invest in building relationships and a strong reputation

Chris said that personal relationships are also critical when establishing trust.

“People’s willingness to spread the word and give more of their time, passion and money to your cause is directly related to how positive their experiences with your brand are,” Chris said. 

“Not-for-profits should provide donors with a variety of ways to engage and watch their response and listen to their feedback at each stage.  

“Social media is essential for engagement, and people need to receive the signals that they can build relationships with an organisation online,” he said.

Chris said that a charity should not underestimate the power of building relationships with organisations with similar goals.

“Select an organisation whose mission complements you own, and partner with them,” Chris said.

  1. Open your doors

Chris said that if a charity is willing to open its doors, supporters will relate that to honesty.

“Inviting donors to take a behind the scenes tour of your programs is an easy way to create an environment of transparency,” Chris said.

“Offering volunteering and internship opportunities and hosting community events are just some of the great ways to help you gain donors trust,” he said.   

  1. Be prepared to manage a crisis

Chris said it’s important for charities to understand their risks and have active and engaged discussions on how to manage risk.

“Understanding who might need to be involved in responding to a reputational issue is useful and you should take the time to explore the risks you face.

“Where possible, act ahead of time and mitigate any risks you foresee becoming an issue for your organisation.

“And if things do go wrong, charities should be as open and honest as possible, and they should be clear about the steps they will take to rectify the situation,” Chris said.

The Impact Suite is an online platform which allows donors to find and compare charities through its proprietary Lotus Rating.

“The Impact Suite bridges the trust gap within the philanthropic community and can help your organisation improve its transparency and accountability,” Chris said. 

Visit www.theimpactsuite.com.au  and update your charity today!