3. Marion Conway—Consultant to Nonprofit’s writes about, “Accountability and Transparency for nonprofits” and references Guidestar’s Accountability and Transparency article.
Source: Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants #38-Nonprofit Management and Leadership | Aspiration
I followed this jewel this morning and ended up at Guidestar.org site reading their article, Paper-Thin Transparency. In that article Guidestar defines transparency as:
At GuideStar, we think transparency means answering these questions for donors and funders:
- Is this a legitimate 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
- What social impact will my donation have?
- How fiscally responsible is this organization?
- What are this organization’s goals and intentions?
Effective means that address these questions are to state publicly, clearly, and concisely your mission, annual accomplishments, ways you measure success, and goals.
Recently the nonprofit I volunteer at has been trying to articulate these goals in writing. Some large donors are particularly interested in this information. Unfortunately this effort drops down on the priority list for the working board members as the problems of running the nonprofit bubble up to the top of the list. The hard part is documenting the social impact. The words are easy to write.
Once you have words to say, a small part of the problem is making the data available to the public. The folks at Guidestar have a simple, low cost solution, eDocs Service. For a $35 annual fee you can keep upload:
- Letter of Determination or Advance Ruling
- Audited or Reviewed Financial Statement
- Annual Report
- Form 990(current)
This service looks pretty handy for large and small donors and the fee is nominal. I noticed that the latest 990 for my nonprofit at Guidestar is for 2003. That won’t do!
This week’s edition of the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, which is a joint edition with the Giving Carnival, is now up at Donor Power Blog and Tactical Philanthropy. You can read it either place. The selected posts are the same, but Jeff and Sean added their own comments to their versions. The posts take a look at what donors and nonprofits wish the other knew about each other and provide some fascinating scenarios for nonprofits to think about. What do donors really want to know? Are donors always right? Do donors even remember they’ve given to you? Check out the carnival.
More Resources from Kivi: How to Write a Nonprofit Annual Report – A Four-Week E-Course You Can Start Today
Link to Carnival #33: Communicating with Donors
The BusinessBlogWire pointed me at this site via their Blogtipping roundup. Kivi has some excellent nonprofit advice on her site. As Treasurer for a nonprofit I was modestly interested in her advice on how to write a nonprofit annual report. Our Development Director had mentioned he was interested in writing an annual report a couple of months ago. I liked the idea but loathed the fact that it would involve a lot of my time since I was the custodian of information. As Treasurer my plate has been overflowing for several months. My workload has forced me to beg off of strategic plan meetings even though I have a vested interest that this strategic plan be a plan that can be implemented. Strategic plans and annual reports go hand in hand. It is hard to plan for success if you do not keep score.
My problem with strategic plans is that board members try to be so nice. They never seem to say a bad word about strategic plans they think are unrealistic. In their hearts they want to be wrong and the strategic plan to work. Their dilemma is that they already know that there are plenty of situations that will cause them to say and act differently than where the strategic plan is pointing them. The words they speak and the actions they take will not mimic the hope in their heart. Breaking this status quo is the grand challenge.