Keeping Your Nonprofit on the Up and Up

By: Nikko Ebbole

The movie Spotlight was based on a true story, and featured an investigative journalism team faced with the task of exposing a string of child sex abuse by Catholic priests. It truly showed the power of the press. The movie was able to bring to light the often-forgetten fact that journalists serve as watchdogs over many large institutions. This movie served as inspiration for Pablo Eisenberg to write this article about the need for more investigative reporters in the nonprofit sector. This got me thinking about good ways for nonprofit organizations to stay out of those kinds of headlines.

Take Care of Your Books

The most obvious way of getting your nonprofit in some serious trouble is not being straight forward about where your money is going. Make sure to be on top of your books and always document where every dollar is spent. Honesty is key when it comes to the finances, just a few slip-ups could land any organization in hot water if you are not careful.

Communication is Key

Whether it is your donors, volunteers, clients etc. keeping your audience well informed is another great way to keep your organization out of trouble. A great way to do this is through different social media outlets. Use these outlets to post about upcoming events, let people know where there money is going, and show what you hope to accomplish in the future. This is a good way to make your audience feel comfortable and show people you are an honest and authentic organization.

Always Embrace the Media

This may seem obvious, but is of utmost importance. Always do your best to accommodate reporters; if they request an interview for a publication, graciously accept. It shows you have nothing to hide and give your organization some good publicity. Make sure to answer all questions and be kind to reporters, it never hurts to have friends in the media industry.

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Nikko Ebbole is a junor at the Universiy of Iowa. He is currently double majoring in Ethics and Public Policy as well as Journalism and Mass Communications. He hopes to attend law school after graduating from the University of Iowa next summer


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