12 steps on how to improve trust in your charity.
The publication recently by Charities Institute Ireland on the level of trust in charities is a welcome development in tracking respondents perceptions on trust. It notes that trust has risen from 24% in 2017 to 30% in 2019. However only 1% of respondents completely trusted Irish Charities.
The sector has been blighted by many well publicised governance meltdowns in the sector over the last 10 years which has had a huge impact on trust and giving. In a nutshell, greater trust should mean more income.
Good governance is about transparency and accountability. Organisations with good governance should not hide their light under a bushel and should be open about what they do well.
So what can charities do to visibly demonstrate that they take governance seriously.
Well here’s 12 steps they can take.
Publish the following documents on their website
- Code of Conduct for the Board
- Annual Report
- Terms of Reference for all Board committees
- Board policies
- Reports by the Chairs of Board committees on their stewardship for the year of their committee.
- Bios of all the directors and length of terms they have served
- Attendance record of directors at Board and Committee Meetings.
- A Donor Charter
- Financial Accounts with the salaries of all senior management displayed in appropriate salary bands.
- The date of the last board review, the scope and results of the review, who carried it out, and their qualifications.
- Indicate that they are compliant with the Charities Code. And if not why not.
- The CPD programme taken by the directors for the last 12 months
If your charity operates in the USA, get your governance rated by such organisations as Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, Universal Giving, Philanthropedia, GiveWell, Great Nonprofits, and The Life You Can Save.
Although Charity Navigator does not operate in Ireland yet, by following its criteria for highly rated organisations, you can bolster your reputation among donors.
For example, Charity Navigator assesses the ratio of overhead expenses (particularly fundraising costs) to a nonprofit’s overall budget. Donors want most of a nonprofit’s revenue to go toward its programs. But Charity Navigator has revised its evaluation process considerably so that overhead expenses are only one part of the rating equation.
The Ireland Funds in the USA have a 4 star rating which is the highest one can get. The more sophisticated donors will be guided by this in their giving.