Openness & Transparency: Showing your failings may not be as bad as you think – Part Three

Through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, people are often surprisingly happy to be open and share their personal lives. Mike Rowlands of Octopus Strategies applied this to the charity sector in North America, where donors and partners are increasingly demanding transparency about where their funds are going. While some charities (indeed all manner of organisations) are leery of openness and transparency, these trends actually present significant opportunities to engage donors and supporters.

An interesting example of transparency involves charity: water an American non-governmental organisation (NGO) that raises funds to ensure safe drinking water is supplied in developing countries. One project attempted to drill a well in the Central African Republic, which was broadcasted live over the Internet for fundraisers to see, as part of the NGOs annual ‘September Campaign.’ However, the project failed, which could have had disastrous effects for the charity, as people could have pulled funding and stopped donating. However, the openness in their operations drove unexpected and perhaps counterintuitive benefits: People were grateful for the charity sharing its challenges, accolades flowed in through their website and social media channels, and funding increased from that point.

Mike feels that in every problem there is a huge opportunity and failure isn’t necessarily always negative, which Everyclick has previously discussed in a guest post on the IoF blog. As the saying goes, in times of need you find out who your real friends are.

Photo by Esther Havens, supplied by charity: water