President Obama gave his first weekly address, available on YouTube. As part of an economic recovery plan, his administration is setting up a website to show “how and where your tax dollars are being spent.” Recovery.gov has a brief “coming soon” type of message:
An oversight board will routinely update this site as part of an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government.
Sure beats the heck out of an animated GIF that says “under construction.”
The new world of fiscal responsibility
Any non-profit has a challenge: show how it’s using donor funds wisely and effectively. The more efficient and effective an organization is, the better it will be able to raise more funds. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website is a shining example – you can see specific goals and progress reports.
Transparency cuts both ways
As we work on our annual report and 2009 fundraising strategies, there’s a sense of concern that all of the cracks and rough spots will show – that donors may be scared off by our struggles. That may be true.
It may not be intuitive, but I say it’s better to be transparent and show off all those cracks. Alongside those difficulties, donors will see the successes in our efforts. That transparency will build trust in our work, not skepticism. The relationships that come from that trust will be far stronger and more productive regardless of the economy.