Monday Motivation: June 12, 2017 – Transparency and non profit financial statements

Every Monday, I feature a motivational quote on FundraisingWonks’ Instagram feed. I figured, “Why not start putting these on the blog?” So here we go.

Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.

This quote from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement, really moves me right now for a number of reasons.

Obviously it resonates given everything that is happening in American politics right now.

But it struck me for a different reason.

Last week in the Nonprofit Happy Hour group on Facebook, someone asked for advice about a mistrustful donor. The writer’s organization is new and hasn’t gone through it’s first audit. The donor, doing his due diligence, wanted financial information.

Transparency and non profit financial statements

One of the commenters in the group suggested that the donor should look for the information on the organization’s Form 990 on Guidestar.

Aside from the fact that Guidestar is often a year or two behind on posting 990s, the donor would not likely find the document.

But more than that, I thought the commenter was just plain stupid.

As I wrote in my recent blog post on naked nonprofits, honesty and transparency are de rigueur today.

I responded to the person with the inquisitive donors that not only should she give him the 990, but she should also send the most recent financial statements. Sure they would be unaudited, but at least it would give the donor confidence that the organization is forthright enough to give him the answers he was seeking.

Transparency with non profit financial statements is a standard today, as it always has been.

So the bottom line: the truth — all of it — good or bad — is the best policy.

Glenn is a fundraising strategist who loves working with small- to mid-size organizations that want to innovate and grow.

Check out his website, and to find out how he can help you, email him.

You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Image: iStock by Getty Images under license.

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