►How’s Your Charity’s Reputation?February 27, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
What’s the public perception about non-profit organizations, and, by extension, your non-profit?
Yesterday’s headline on Slate.com “Why America’s Charities Are So Uncharitable” http://tinyurl.com/YourCharity immediately tightened my stomach. ‘Arrgh, bad press,’ I thought, worried before I’d even read a word. Arguably, that’s part of the problem. Is it possible, even likely, that thousands (or millions) of Americans will read only that headline?
How can you proactively address any negative press about charities and turn it to your advantage?
In the text, author Ken Stern (long-time nonprofit executive) comments on the number of nationwide charities (1.1 million, not counting congregations) and the sometimes questionable causes the IRS approves for 501(c)3 status. He sees problems with lost revenue, increased competition, and yes, damage to the public perception of non-profits in general. He provides several examples of nonprofit organizations which seem to be benefiting their profit margins more than the public good.
“When so much of the American charitable sector seems so uncharitable, it is perhaps time we remind ourselves what a charity is really supposed to be.”
So, what can you do to protect and enhance your charity’s reputation?
Show and tell your story: the behind-the-scenes actions you are taking, impacts you are making, lives you are changing. Get photos onto your Facebook page (several times a week!), put 1-2 minute video clips up on YouTube, and write longer content on your web pages.
Want to earn the public trust? Show and tell your way to greater visibility and transparency. If you don’t, those supporter dollars could go to another organization.