Joe Patti published a fantastic article on 5/3/22 that examines labels attached to common nonprofit circumstances, like using “give” when communicating with patrons about donations.
We’ve all encountered this at one point or another; retail stores frequently call customers “guests” and to a large degree, those changes are driven by expectations.
Patti presents a few specific examples where the nonprofit sector could benefit from a similar approach and ultimately arrives at some useful suggestions. At the same time, he hedges his bet by acknowledging that decisions about how nonprofits should go about these discussions isn’t always cut and dry.
The better solution is probably to employ broader, more consistent messaging emphasizing unrestricted giving without the expectation of expensive benefits. People absolutely do deserve a sense of assurance and control. You don’t want to give to con artists who are going to run off with your money. But that can come from providing easier access to information attesting to the legitimacy of the charity.
While there are websites that provide that sort of analysis, people aren’t widely aware of them as resources. The metrics these sites have traditionally employed have been problematic. There has been a tendency to focus on overhead ratio as a measure of effectiveness. There are probably a lot of diversity, equity and inclusion issues with what data is used and how it is analyzed too. Ultimately, a complete overhaul over a long term will be necessary.
It’s a great post and well worth your time.