Nonprofit transparency is in high demand in the nonprofit world. Thankfully, gone — or at least, going — are the days when donors were expected to blindly trust an organization in the name of doing good. The shift is a positive one, encouraging nonprofit organizations like us to continue doing better, more honest work.
Extraordinary nonprofit transparency doesn’t happen by accident, or overnight.
At New Story, we’ve ingrained truth-telling into our DNA from the beginning, but it always remains an area we constantly strive to improve. For us, developing smart technology has been an essential element in improving our ability to deliver a world class nonprofit transparency experience.
The Monolith: Transparency that Scales
When we first started, we had the option of on-boarding to a free or heavily discounted platform that would meet 70% of the needs we had as an organization. After some research and a serious gut check, we decided to build our own platform instead. Was it a lot more work? 1000%, yes! But it enabled us to build something that was by default transparent and designed to keep the lines of transparency clear.
Enter, the Monolith: our custom-built platform where every family has a comprehensive profile connecting them to every donor who’s supported them. Donations are also managed and linked through the system, so we know — and can easily share to donors — where each person’s money is going. As we grow, the Monolith grows with us, and becomes increasingly more capable of enabling our best work.
The Move-in: Visual Nonprofit Transparency
We let every donor know precisely where their money went because we build trust in the details. One of the major ways that plays out is through “move-in proof” — showing donors photos or videos of the day their family moves into their home. Getting these clips used to be time-consuming and unpredictable, so we simplified the process and soon will build a way for local partners to directly upload via their mobile phones.
In the same space, partners can also now send us ‘mini-updates’ on families before and after the move-in. Instead of long emails or Whatsapp messages, we now get individual two sentence updates on a family-by-family basis. We can easily take this information and send it straight on to donors, so they’re included and informed in the process now more than ever.
The Mobile App: Transparent Impact
After we complete a project, how do we know it was effective? Follow-up is a critical step to extraordinary nonprofit transparency both internally and with donors. By collecting survey data from families after we build, we ensure we’re being honest about the results we’re delivering. To do this well, we recently developed an app for our partners to survey families on the ground in our communities. The app is designed specifically to work online and offline, adapting to the needs of the partners in country. The information we get from these surveys keeps us up-to-date with where we really are as an organization, and where we should go.
None of these technologies came without effort, but making nonprofit transparency a critical part of your DNA changes how you approach every decision you make. It’s easier to prioritize major system upgrades in the name of something you believe in wholeheartedly. We believe donors deserve to know the impact they’re making, and so far, investing in 100% transparency has been 100% worth it every step of the way.
New Story is a nonprofit that builds homes and communities for families living in survival mode around the world. We believe technology is a force multiplier for impact. Learn more here -> newstorycharity.org
If your nonprofit/NGO/government institution is interested in becoming one of the first to use New Story’s impact data survey tool, please email us at matthew [at] newstorycharity.org.