Consider all the stories about fundraising costs you’ve ever read. There are two out there I want you to read.
The first is a report by Scripps Howard News Service about how many charities continue to underreport (or not report ) their fundraising costs.
You would expect me to be sympathetic to the pressure charities feel to report low fundraising costs. It’s a metric that many donors look at when making their giving decisions. But reporting of fundraising costs has to be accurate, transparent and accessible. We not only hurt our organizations, but the entire sector, when it’s anything less.
The second story identifies where we really need to do our work: educating the public on what it takes to keep our shows on the road. You’ve seen similar stories to the National Veterans Foundation in the past, and we’ll see more in the future unless we step up our education efforts. AFP put out a statement today about return on investment in fundraising, and we’re going to continue to bring up these issues.
When we talk about what we achieve, we have to make the link to what it takes to achieve it. “Charting Impact” is an initiative of Independent Sector, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Guidestar, supported by AFP and many others. It gives you five questions we should all ask when we encourage people to invest their money, time, and attention in our organizations:
1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
2. What are your strategies for making this happen?
3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?
4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?
5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?
We must to be able to answer those questions and we must use the answers to educate our public.