There has been a lot of discussion lately about the need for transparency and accountability between charities and their supporters. Last week, I came across a tip sheet on Best Practices in Charity Annual Reporting that I thought would be worth sharing and discussing. In it are some good ways of assessing annual reports both for charities and for donors.

Ask Better
At the core of my work is the principle of helping charities to become excellent in the art of asking for support. So vital to attracting donors to a charitable mission is the act of reporting on business activities and how the dollars raised were used in the charity's operations. The Best Practices paper reported that few Canadians feel that the charities they support do an excellent job of providing information about how donated funds were used for programs. 

Today's philanthropists think about their donations as an investment - is it time for Canadian charities to take more of a business mind-set? Think of each fundraising campaign as an "IPO" and your annual report as a sales brochure showing the potential value of each investment. Is your charities' report up to the standard set by these best practices? 

Give Smarter
I had also had some wonderful opportunities to speak last week with three advisors about teaching their clients the art of becoming philanthropists. When you step back for a moment, it's a wonderful feeling to know that we live in a place where so many are able to help others either thanks to a family legacy or from their own accumulated wealth.

The problem for so many individuals and families is the challenge of determining which charities' missions match best with their beliefs and which ones can deliver the best value for their donations. Evaluating charities based simply on the percentage of dollar raised spent on administration of programs is often too superficial to really measure efficiency and effectiveness. Giving smarter is about looking for those annual reports, choosing to give to organizations who do provide comprehensive information and challenging the ones that you already support to go deeper and address your questions if their reporting isn't meeting the best practices described in the paper.

Personally, this line of questioning has led me to radically change my own giving habits and re-direct my annual donation dollars to the organizations that have the time to tell me more about the role my support plays in their day-to-day operations! It is also a good reminder of the importance of sharing this same story on behalf of the charities that I assist professionally.

What are your own charity's reporting best practices? Are you satisfied with the information that your charities provide you with as a donor?

Let's talk!
 


10/15/2013 00:23

Great blog, I'm great I found Weebly!

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