Don’t wait until you’re facing a PR crisis to address the public’s perception of your not-for-profit. To ensure public trust and respect, you need to be proactive. Consider taking these four steps:
- Regularly communicate with key constituencies. This means keeping them informed about the latest fundraising figures, how you’re using donations and progress you’re making toward your strategic goals. If the only time you communicate with the public is when you need to raise funds or renew memberships, you’re missing prime reputation-building opportunities.
- Educate staff and volunteers. Your executive director isn’t the only spokesperson for your nonprofit. Every time staff members or volunteers act on behalf of your organization, they’re representing it. Make sure they understand this responsibility and provide them with appropriate training.
- Be ready for the boomerang effect. If another nonprofit makes headlines for squandering its funds or some other perceived act of mismanagement, your own organization may feel some of the heat. Be prepared to explain the system of checks and balances your organization has in place to prevent a similar crisis.
- Let go of what you can’t control. When you run your organization honestly and transparently, you’re working in the best interest of donors and beneficiaries. Some people, however, may still be skeptical of your mission or operations. It’s probably not worth your time to try to win over these rare cynics. Know when to cut your losses and move on.
For more information on ensuring a positive public perception of your organization, contact us.