A common thread among high-performing nonprofit organizations is having a culture of embracing transparency. You can feel it from the moment you walk in the room. It will be fully on display through comportment at board meetings, how the organization generally conducts business, how staff and management carry themselves and, most importantly, how it is evident in everyday decision making.
When organizations embrace transparency they project to both insiders and outsiders a heightened sense of trust and confidence. These two values, trust and confidence, are what people will feel and remember about an organization as the details of individual interactions fade over time.
There are many fiscal and financial benefits to be realized when your organization has a culture of embracing transparency. These fiscal and financial benefits will heighten the sense of trust and confidence an organization so directly needs to maintain and project to staff, leadership, members, and donors and to the general public.
The over-arching fiscal benefits are derived from projecting a sense that your organization is well managed, is appreciative of member and donor financial support, and honors its commitments to safeguard and use these funds wisely. Also, the organization has a diverse board of directors and governance structure that will ensure resources are put to the best use to advance mission and sustainability.
The over-arching financial benefits come from having accounting systems, policies and procedures, and governance structures that honor and adhere to transparency best practices and safe-guarding assets including:
- Timely and regular financial reporting that is open to all.
- A governance structure that supports oversight and use of financial assets.
- Open communication channels between staff and management and management and leadership (board of directors and committees) that ensure efficient, regular sharing of key financial information.
The following chart is provided to give you a better sense of the fiscal vs. financial aspects of transparency and how they both complement and support a vibrant culture of embracing transparency:
|ENHANCING FISCAL AND FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY|
These individual elements, polices, best practices, and systems represent some of the more visible components that will enhance your culture of transparency and project a sense of trust and confidence of a well-managed and on-mission organization.