Reputation is Impossible Without…What Charities Should Pay Attention To

According to a survey by the Zagoriy Foundation and Sociinform, 84% of Ukrainians have noticed increased charitable giving since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We are now forming a whole ecosystem of charity. Ukrainians are testing new approaches to fundraising, audience engagement, ambassadors, etc., and are directing their efforts both to the needs of the army and to support the population in various ways.

With such activity in this area, it is essential to build a reputation. After all, it is a positive reputation that helps foundations and organizations build trust and loyalty among their audiences, attract resources, allow them to be leaders among others, and ensure resilience to crises. What primarily shapes the reputation of charitable organizations, and how do we work on it?

Transparency and Accountability

No matter how trite and straightforward it may sound, transparency and accountability are the foundation with which it is possible to build a reputation for a foundation or organization. Conducting activities transparently and following the requirements of the current legislation builds trust among the audience, including potential donors. This is also an advantage when building partnerships, as other organizations, businesses, and government authorities will take integrity into account.

Reputation is impossible without communication, so in this case, it is essential to operate transparently, prepare regular and high-quality reports with indicators of your work, and communicate about it properly. Depending on the specifics of the organization and its target audience, you need to choose specific channels and formats of communication: personalized mailings with a presentation for donors, cards for social media, comments for the press, etc. If you want to be trusted and known as a reliable and open organization, do not be silent. Tell us about yourself and your principles of work. 

Clearly Defined Business Area(s) and Strategic Approach to Communications

An organization or foundation must establish a well-defined mission and possess a comprehensive strategy for accomplishing it within one or more core areas. This pertains to strategic planning. It is crucial for representatives within the charitable sector, grounded in philanthropy, altruism, and benevolence, to concentrate their efforts on specific primary objectives rather than attempting to address a multitude of issues simultaneously. Cultivate expertise within a specialized niche.

Another critical aspect of an organization or foundation’s strategic approach is effective communication. The intended audience should possess a thorough understanding of the institution’s mission and activities. This can be achieved through a well-defined positioning strategy and consistent communication regarding the primary focus areas of the foundation or organization. Regular updates on significant work-related aspects, coverage of key projects, and initiatives are essential. Consequently, the target audience should readily associate the organization’s name with its core mission, such as “Come Back Alive,” a foundation dedicated to providing expert support to the military.

Well-defined areas of focus and consistent communication are the cornerstones of a strong reputation. Reputation-building is a gradual process, much like treading water. By maintaining steadfastness in your actions and methodical communication, you lay the groundwork for reputation growth.

Consequently, to achieve success and effectively construct a robust reputation within the charitable sector, we recommend that representatives adhere to the following formula:

Use of various communication channels following strategic goals and objectives

Reputation is impossible without communication. How, where, and, most importantly, why do we communicate? It can be figured out by building and understanding the link between the organization’s goals and objectives, communication goals and objectives, and the communication platforms that best suit them. Remembering the target audience to communicate with focus and have an impact is also essential. Only in this relationship can communication have a long-term effect and influence reputation.

When considering your communication channels, it’s crucial not to restrict yourself solely to your own platforms, such as your website and social media. The PESO model can assist you in selecting the most effective channels to attain your objectives.

This model is frequently employed in marketing, yet it can also prove valuable in the context of charitable communications, enabling a more expansive view of your outreach efforts. The four intersecting sectors within this model – Paid Media (comprising advertising activities and influencer engagement), Earned Media (encompassing press materials and media pitching), Shared Media (embracing social media), and Owned Media (including newsletters and podcasts) – illustrate the diverse range of channels available to achieve various communication objectives.

Several other equally vital factors contribute to building a solid reputation. These include cultivating a leader’s brand, consistently monitoring mentions of your organization or foundation in the public sphere, and more. Nevertheless, reputation is unattainable without transparency and accountability, a concentrated approach to work and communication within well-defined areas of operation, and the strategic utilization of diverse communication channels aligned with your objectives. Therefore, acting and communicating strategically is imperative, as this forms the bedrock of a robust reputation.

Author: Lesia Dunets

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