Is your nonprofit worthy and trustworthy?

Just how worthy and trustworthy is your charitable organization? Can you pass the Mom test?

Mother and baby Canada goose

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Let’s say your mother came to you for giving advice:

“Dale, you’re well off and your sisters don’t need my help. I’ve decided to leave what money I have to charity. What do you think of my giving it to the group you’re involved with?”

As you consider how to answer your Mom, try these two questions.

1.  Is my organization worthy of such a big gift?

You can spot a worthy organization pretty easily because:

  • The work it does matters — it changes lives, its community or our planet.
  • Your gift can have a big impact — to advance the mission and to build a great organization.
  • Its passionate and competent leadership turn dreams into reality.

While worthiness is critical, it isn’t enough to meet the Mom test. You can probably think of a few worthy causes but you’d never give to the organization because you don’t trust how well they are managed.

That brings me to the second question:

2. Is this an organization that my mom could trust to use her gift well?

Trustworthy organizations take their stewardship commitments seriously. They want their donors, their clients, the public and the media to know that their trust is well founded.

Trustworthiness means that you:

  • Place stewardship and ethics above all else.
  • Deliver on your promises.
  • Uphold your values.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and always make decisions in the best interests of the community and people you serve.
  • Consider every dollar and every person a precious resource to engage wisely.

Worthy and trustworthy organizations are critical to keeping the good faith of our donors and our communities.

When your board or staff are evaluating how well your organization is doing, it helps to think about your mother. Because if you don’t believe that your organization is a wise investment for your mother, it really isn’t for anyone else’s mom (or dad or sister or brother) either.

Chapter 9 in: How to make your board dramatically more effective, starting today.

You can order my book through Emerson and Church Publishers. Just click here.

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