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The Transparency Imperative: Reimagining Your Fundraising-to-Finance Strategy to Build Donor Trust

By Alexandra Grace September 16, 2020

Nonprofit and education organizations alike have had their work cut out for them this year. With so many challenges hitting so quickly, it can feel like a non-stop effort just to stay in place. So first, let me say this: Thank you, to our nonprofit and our education customers. We see you on the front lines, working tirelessly in a time when nothing is certain. It’s because the work you do is so important that the public is as invested in keeping your mission going as you are.

In a post-pandemic world, donor trust is paramount.

Donors are always evaluating where their donations can make the most impact. In the landscape of COVID-19, the trust between an organization and its donors has become more important than ever. Donor trust has always been mission-critical, but in today’s rapidly shifting environment it has become mission-imperative. So how can you earn and keep that trust?

In a word: Transparency. In any healthy relationship, there’s no giving without trust—and there’s no trust without transparency. Your donors and stakeholders expect transparent spending that proves return on mission.


Colleagues reviewing fundraising data in office while wearing masks

Connecting fundraising and finance helps build donor trust.


A fundraising-to-finance strategy is key.

The key to proving transparency is reporting. Reliable, accurate financial reports demonstrate to the IRS that you’re in compliance, prove to the public that you’ve spent their donation dollars as intended, and show that your work maximizes impact.

The trouble is, producing those financial reports is not easy. When your fundraising and finance teams don’t have a strategy for achieving reliable and efficient CRM-to-General Ledger (GL) communication, financial reporting is error-prone and highly manual—unreliable at worst and time consuming at best. Fundraisers lose weeks of productivity each year to heavy manual reconciliation and disconnects in the integration process.

When I was working with nonprofit customers on the finance side of technology, one of the biggest pain points I repeatedly heard was, “Our accounting system doesn’t talk to our CRM.” There was often a perception that GL integration is simply too hard.

It’s easy to understand that perception. Development folks don’t speak finance, and for good reason; they’re busy pounding the pavement, raising mission-critical dollars. Meanwhile, Finance expects detail; they need an accurate GL to prepare the financial reports used by key stakeholders like executives, boards, and institutional funders to make strategic mission decisions.

Now is the time to reimagine your fundraising-to-finance strategy. Here’s how.

Technology has the power not only to make GL integration more seamless, but to also help you reimagine how Fundraising and Finance work together. When you use your CRM as a true revenue subledger, you marry Accounting’s requirements with Development’s process. The result is an integration strategy that incorporates what both teams truly need to do to fuel your mission and impact.


Team meeting in conference room wearing masks

Accounting Subledger helps teams work more cohesively.


A reliable, trusting relationship between Fundraising and Finance will not only save your organization time and money; it’s also the key to proving transparency and earning your donors’ loyalty in changing times.

The good news? We’ve already seen this internal trust in action. “Our scope for building the Accounting Subledger is to connect Fundraising and Finance,” says Chris Clark, Product Management Senior Manager. “The byproduct of what’s taken place through these healthy dialogues and trust-building discoveries has produced so much more.”

Josh Gunkel, Director of Technology at, has already seen the benefits. He says, “Accounting Subledger helps us bridge the gap between two critical perspectives around our donations – the Finance and Development perspectives. It also helps us meet our goal of enabling our Development, Marketing, and Donor Care teams to do what they do best, and not have to worry about debits and credits or other foundational accounting elements that the accounting team manages.”

So what would “more” mean to your organization?

Mark your calendars for our upcoming webinar on September 23, where we will talk about one way to improve transparency in a pandemic and post-pandemic world—by strengthening the relationship between finance and fundraising systems. Register here!

About the Author

Alexandra Grace, Solution Engineer at

Alexandra “Lex” Grace is a Solution Engineer at based in Chicago, Illinois. She has spent her technology career specializing in nonprofits, working on both the Constituent Relationship Management and Fund Accounting sides of the (donated) coin. Her passion is helping organizations of all sizes use technology to become connected nonprofits that fuel greater mission impact.