Fundraisers are constantly reminded of the need to report back to their supporters, whether in financial terms or through success stories. But what does the giving public really expect in return for their donations?
Beth Howard, 19, student
I expect to know where it’s going, what the charity is doing and how it’s getting on. I’d probably want to hear about it through letters and emails about once a month. I donate to poverty charities, as with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment I think this subject is pretty important. Knowing about individual cases and how a difference has been made to that person is also really good.
George Davenport, 24, aspiring film-maker
I wouldn’t expect anything back from charities. All I expect them to do is more evenly distribute wealth around the world. As far as I’m aware, the problems the world faces are pretty endemic and they’re not going to change overnight. It’s a problem we all face. I just like to know it’s going to the right place, which isn’t always the case.
Beth Kannerski, 28, airline engineer
It’s information that is most important to me – focusing on how the money is being spent and testimonials from clients. I don’t know what kinds of charities you’re asking about specifically but for anything in human services, I’d like to see stories and hear the impact of the dollars. As far as how often I’d want that information – anytime they want to hit me up for money, I want to know what they’re doing with it. So, definitely at the time of the initial give, and maybe bi-annual fundraising updates too. I probably wouldn’t read a full annual report.
Fergus Leo, 30, recruitment manager
I don’t really expect anything at all, but it depends what the charity is, I suppose. If I give to charity it’s to make me feel good so I don’t necessarily expect anything back, aside from my own personal satisfaction. I usually donate to bigger charities, such as the Red Cross, where I recognise the brand and know that they are reputable. I don’t tend to give to people shaking buckets, as I don’t always trust that the money will go elsewhere.
Dominique Fenn, 27, managing editor
I suppose I’d like to hear where the money is going and what changes are being implemented, but I don’t expect to see big reward stories. I give sporadically to Oxfam and Red Cross and I like to go to fundraisers usually, because then everyone gets involved. At a fundraiser, I’d like to know what the charity expects to make and then, afterwards, whether they exceeded it. I think a monthly update on these things is enough, not too often.
Did not wish to be named
I wouldn’t give any of my money to charities in the first place, as I get the impression it all goes to their board members. You only have to look at the news and what is going on in the world at the moment. At the moment there seems to be big things going on with all the people at the health organisations where all the aid is going. I would only ever give to an individual, if I knew exactly where the money was going.
Want to make sure your donors feel confidence in your charity? Read these 5 ways to reassure your donors.
This article first appeared in The Fundraiser, Issue 5, May 2011