When we think about stewardship, the first things that often come to mind are financial transparency or donor appreciation.
Stewardship goes deeper than that, though.
To communicate stewardship, your organization must express a clear sense of mission and how you are using your resources to reach that mission. In an article at the Nonprofit Times, Kelly Jarrett says:
Nonprofit stewardship is not just about saying thank you, it’s about showing how you use your resources to further your mission and sharing the impact your constituents have towards it. Above all, supporters are looking for information that they will translate into credibility and accountability, increasing the likelihood of engagement, trust and loyalty.
Your organization’s website is one of your most important tools in communicating information that supporters “will translate into credibility and accountability.” Here are four ways your nonprofit’s website can display your commitment to stewardship:
- Communicate Need and Impact. Telling a compelling story is part of online fundraising 101, but establishing legitimacy in the eyes of potential donors needs to go beyond that. When donors visit your page, can they quickly and easily see the need? Are you clearly communicating the impact their gift will make? Sharing real success stories can motivate donors to give and help them feel more connected to your organization.
- Use Information Graphics. When visiting your site for the first time, potential donors want to see how their gift will make a difference and how that gift will be used. Infographics allow you to quickly and attractively communicate that information. Graphics can communicate how much of a gift goes directly to programs, the demand for your services, your activities, outputs, and outcomes. Graphics are an important tool in communicating your organization’s stewardship.
- Tell Stories Visually. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is particularly true in terms of communcating stewardship. Images authenticate your mission and make stories more compelling. Post slideshows of people who have been touched by your organization or videos of field personnel at work. Include pictures with blog posts and share images via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Images help communicate that you are using your resources to do real work in response to real needs–the essence of stewardship.
- Thank Your Donors. In addition to demonstrating stewardship of your financial resources, your organization also needs to demonstrate appreciation of your donors. Possible avenues might be an online donor wall, thank you messages posted by field workers, videos of people helped by your organization, or highlighting significant volunteers or donors on a blog or social networking page. Seeing that other people’s gifts are appreciated and used well can help motivate new donors to give.
Potential donors want to know that their gifts matter and will be used well. Using these four tips to communicate your nonprofit’s commitment to stewardship establishes trust, builds loyalty, and will help you reach your online fundraising goals.