Nonprofit marketers: 3 ways to help your organization build trust

As a nonprofit fundraiser, you’re aware that earning donor trust is critical to raising funds, but with trust on the decline according to the 2017 Edelman trust barometer, institutions must be willing to step outside of their traditional roles to make an impact. As a digital media marketer that has been involved in nonprofit video marketing, I wanted to share two articles I uncovered that highlight the importance of empowering stakeholders to increase your organization’s digital influence.

Article 1

Michael Hoffman (@Michael_Hoffman), a nonprofit consultant and founder of See3, recently wrote an article for npENGAGE called the Future of Nonprofit Engagement Strategies. In it, he highlights the decline of brand trust and the rise of peer influence. Hoffman makes the case that by empowering donors to be ambassadors for your organization to their network of friends, your organization will see greater engagement. Michael also strongly recommends utilizing video to come across as more authentic.


Article 2

Further reinforcing the importance of peer influence, Jeanette Russell(@jnetrussell), a marketing director for the social engagement platform,, wrote an article on npENGAGE called growth hacking your mission with people power. In the article, Jeanette describes the transformation that has occurred among today’s change agents and their growing influence in society. She also makes the case for utilizing established community networks as well to gain influence. In some cases these networks may be better connected to causes than the nonprofit organization itself. In addition to the points, Jeanette also provides examples of nonprofits that have been able to utilize the power of peer influence into their outreach efforts.

3 Actionable Items

Based on what I was able to gather from these two articles and on my own experience as a nonprofit marketer, I assembled a list of three actionable items I believe will help nonprofits develop greater trust within their donors.

  • Empower Stakeholders – Turn your donors or volunteers into ambassadors to leverage their network of friends.
  • Use More Video – Utilize video more often in communications with the public to build brand authenticity, even if it isn’t highly polished.
  • User-Generated Content – Encourage stakeholders to produce their own video content for your cause to create authenticity around your brand.

Building trust is important to the health of nonprofits. By empowering donors, volunteers and even the recipients of a nonprofits’ services, organizations are able to better connect with more people in both an authentic and emotional way.

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