Members are leaving charities
The internet has changed society forever. And will keep doing so. The biggest impact, I wrote about it before, is the end of privacy and the need to be open. All information can and will be shared eventually. This is still the biggest challenge for larger organizations. And the biggest chance for new and small organizations and individual initiatives. Survival of the fittest and thus the fastest.
Big commercial enterprises have seen this trend and are dealing with it, or they are decreasing in power and significance. Your promise, your goal and your actions and words have to be one. If not, the public will see it. As one individual can be lethal to your companies or organizations credibility.
This challenge has also been huge for charities. In the old days they could tell a story, give you the feeling that you had to donate to feel good or support a cause you felt sympathy for. It was very hard to see the results, to get the real numbers. What happened with the money, who is behind it. Not a lot of people would dare to challenge the good intentions of people and organizations in general. If I would have an organization that would help poor children in some third world country and ask you for donations, your first reaction would be what a good man to spend his energy on this cause. You would not think at first, what does he do with the money that he gets and will it really reach destination? For most, that would be the opposite of the normal human reaction.
Now with the internet, everything becomes open and trickles down to the normal audience. Organizations that are not really clear and open and try to hide, get a diffuse image and will automatically suffer. Organizations that are co-operating with shadowed or doubtful persons or organizations will be questioned. Charities have often managers that earn about the same as the Dutch president. Often they do not appear to be wealthy people, they have to look simple. This kind of “it is not what it seems” acting, cannot be maintained. And the audience sees it and understands it. The more charity organizations are not open and honest about what happens with donations and how their organization is being run, the more members they will lose. The internet is crucial for them to convince people and prove their good intentions.
Articles like the following about the Dutch charities, that they are losing a lot of members and how much money they are in fact getting from the Government, are just the beginning. Get your charity in shape, use the internet in a good way, be transparent and open. And do not underestimate the power of individuals who will watch you critically. There are a lot of chances still for the charities, but adjustment is the first step.
Elsevier article on reducing numbers of members.
Article showing the tax money going to organizations in Holland.
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