4 ways to build trust in your charity online

Statistics published in the Edelman Trust Barometer have suggested that trust in charitable organisations is falling annually, with another drop of 2% this year.

Thankfully, there are a host of affordable digital solutions that can help charities to:

  • Be easy to find online.
  • Track and publicise your spending.
  • Keep donors in the know.
  • Give your donors plenty of options.

In this article, we’ve broken down the main solutions into 4 different categories and listed some examples of good practice.

1. Accessibility

Starting with the simplest tip: to judge your legitimacy, people will want to be able to find information about you. If you’re not present in the room at the time they’re looking, the first place they’ll look is online. So you should make yourself easy to find online, and make that online presence as useful as possible to stakeholders.

That doesn’t mean you have to be on every social media platform if you haven’t got staff or volunteers to maintain it. It can be as simple as having a basic website or Facebook page, which you can set up in no time.

Beyond that, the next step is improving your website’s accessibility. This could be a website redesign, improving your search ranking or even making your site more compatible with mobile devices.


2. Accountability

Beyond being an essential task for regulatory bodies, making your finances public is a great way to improve transparency and encourage donations. To do that, you might want to make it easier for non-financial people to work out what money is going where.

Maintain clear accounts of all spending across all departments:

According to The Guardian, 1 in 5 charities spend less than 50% of their income on the cause itself. This figure can ring alarm bells for donors so your breakdown of spending can also be important to them. Donors want to see you are honest and clear about where your money is allocated to know you’re worth donating to.

An example of a charity who do this effectively is Macmillan Cancer Support who offer a clear breakdown of what was spent where on their About Us page.

If you’re looking to improve your accounting software to help improve managing accountability, why not take a look at this comparison site.


3. Transparency

This is even broader than accountability. As a charity, you know the work you’re doing is extremely valid and you need to prove it to the outside world.

Transparency is all about telling potential donors how you plan to spend donations and then evidencing how you’ve done as you said.

Publicise your success so far:

Achieving this is all about distributing clear and effective content on your site, social media channels and over email. One way of doing this is through useful infographics that clearly portray your successes. Clothes Aid offer a good example of this.

Show where the money will go:

Another way is by stating on your website exactly where the money will go in relation to the cause.

An example of a charity doing this famously well is Oxfam, so check them out for reference. By explaining that £20 will go towards building two toilets, donors immediately feel less detached when donating online.


4. Willingness

Showing you listen to and appreciate your supporters goes a long way when it comes to fundraising.

Give your donors options:

Offering people a range of options for how and when to donate and sustaining a dialogue with your donors makes your charity appear more respectable immediately.

The NSPCC are a prime example, offering numerous ways to donate. Not only do they offer website, phone and postal donations, they’re also affiliated with a number of well-known companies such as eBay.

Connecting with familiar online sites shows competency and creates a sense of familiarity that makes online payments a lot less nerve-racking for donors.

Take on advice:

Another great way to show willingness is by offering a review option on your site so that users can give their opinion on your site or your charity in general.

This could be regarding the user-friendliness, the donation process or the content of your site or broader marketing material. An example of a charity doing this is Mind.



Hopefully you’re already implementing some of these as they’re great ways of reassuring donors about you.

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