According to the poll, "one of the most critical elements of a non-profit's brand name is Trust. The trust that the general public places in non-profits is paramount to their success as enduring and powerful brands. Those that deliver well on their promises and missions stand the test of time," noted Justin Greeves, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Harris Interactive. "In the context of this brand evaluation, Trust should be viewed as both a concrete organizational trait and a point of emotional connection with supporters and those in need of help and assistance".The study also seem to suggest that there is a strong correlation (maybe even causal link) between consumer trust in a nonprofit and likelihood to donate. Makes sense. So here's the question. If trust is an essential ingredient in creating a thriving (and profitable) organization, how do you create it?
According to Transparency, a very interesting set of essays by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman building trust is a long-term process and has to be built into the very fabric of an organization's culture. Moreover, trust building is an ethical responsibility of both followers and leaders in an organization.
In their first essay, Creating a Culture of Candor, the authors suggest that trust is dependent on the free flow of information in an organization. They also talk about the role of digital technology, in particular blogs, in forcing organizations to become more transparent.
"Blogs can do far more than reveal secrets. They are able to spread information virally at stunning speed...Blogs can blindside and cause damage to companies as well as individuals...No leader can afford to ignore such a force...[In short], blogs are uniquely powerful tools for promoting products, brands, and ideas, but they can also be ruthless and all but unstoppable in punishing what they disapprove of. And as their numbers soar, blogs will only get more powerful."Is your organization trustworthy? Are you open about your triumphs and failures? Do you share critical information widely and with various stakeholders? In short, are you on the level and do you keep people in the loop?
Rather than wait for your secrets to be revealed by the digerati, why not start now and create a culture of candor where both leaders and followers practice the fine art of speaking the truth. According to Harris Interactive's research, this will build your brand equity. It may also create a powerful economic incentive for people to give more money to your organization.