Donors support nonprofits for a variety of reasons. Some will give simply because they love what you do. Some appreciate knowing your impact on specific numbers of people. Others will give because of those reasons, but only when they get a closer look at your business practices. Efficiency and transparency are key words among many of today’s savvy donors. They want to know that most of their contribution is going to the work of the organization. They’re interested in how you govern your organization and in your willingness to disclose your business and accounting practices. And they’re doing research before they make decisions about who they will support.
Here’s where making use of third party endorsement will not only insure your organization is operating with recognized best practices, but will also provide assurance to donors who check you out before making contributions. GuideStar and the Better Business Bureau are two of the most respected resources for gaining third party endorsement.
GuideStar has long compiled and posted information on nonprofits. Their website states: “Any nonprofit in our database can update its report with information about its mission, programs, leaders, goals, accomplishments, and needs.” Organizations that fill out a complete GuideStar profile qualify for their seal, which can be posted on your website and provides interested potential donors access to relevant information on financials and governance. GuideStar is highly respected as a resource for those seeking information on nonprofits.
As nonprofits are being viewed more and more as businesses, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also a place potential donors are turning to for information on organizations they’re interested in supporting. On their website, the public can access reports on area nonprofits through the Wise Giving Alliance. BBB has established a Charity Seal Program with 20 Standards relating to governance, transparency, efficiency and truthfulness in information. Organizations that go through their Charity Review Process and meet those standards qualify for the BBB seal.
Taking the time to fill out your GuideStar profile and go through the Better Business Bureau review process will make your organization stand out as meeting the higher standards today’s donors look for while deciding where to invest their resources.