Last week I struck a chord with ‘Thank you for your trash’. It got me thinking about all the strings that can be attached with a ‘gift’ – as I’m sure some people would interpret those organizations or people that chimed in – as ungrateful. So what can you expect as a donor? As an organization? Here’s what.
I’m a fundraising nerd and proud AFP member, so I subscribe to the Donor Bill of Rights – something created by some really smart people and endorsed by countless organizations. It basically says that an individual supporter should be…
- informed of the organization’s purpose
- assured their gift will be used for such purpose
- have access to financial statements and information about who serves on the board, and
- be respected when it comes to their information, questions, prompt acknowledgement and communication
It’s simpler than that. Understandably, most individual donors expect organizations to…
- Use the donation for the organization’s stated purpose
- Be acknowledged promptly and accurately
- Protect their information
- Not be pushed too far or too hard
As a nonprofit organization
There’s no ‘organizational bill of rights’ (that I’m aware of) but I think organizations should be able to expect donors to…
- Support the organization with financial donations as they are able and willing
- Be communicative about their intentions and motivations for giving
- Understand and accept that all organizations have overhead
- Be consistent in their support and communicate when/if they’re unable to give
Of course, this assumes we pretend there’s not a dramatically different power dynamic that’s been created over the years between the ‘haves & have nots’ the ‘givers and receivers’ and thus, donors and organizations. Unfortunately, those expectations may currently be too great – but I’d challenge us to move towards them.
As a supporter, or an organizational representative, what are your expectations? How do you (or do you) communicate those to your counterpart? In the spirit of the holiday season, all I ask is that you keep in mind the implications and expectations that come along with any gifts you might be giving and those you receive.