We are a more effective organization and a stronger community of employees, supporters, and peers, when we demonstrate a steadfast commitment to transparency. As a nonprofit organization, we also have a special obligation to provide data to account for how we spend money and the results we achieve.
Yet transparency is about more than accountability. By making our work more observable, we tap the collective intelligence of a broader audience to find and correct mistakes and to identify and capitalize on new opportunities. In doing so, we lay the foundation for a culture centered on “radical candor” and continuous improvement.
Publicly, this means sharing financial and programmatic data to allow supporters, peers, and community partners to understand what we do, what impact we see (or don’t see) from our work, what we’ve learned, and what we’re doing next. Internally, it means that we do the same across teams and offices, while also being a transparent employer – sharing with employees market practices for salaries and benefits, and explaining how this data connects with positional salary ranges, compensation decisions, and professional development trajectories.
To be successful, however, transparency has to mean more than just making data accessible. Successful communication requires turning data into intelligible information – you shouldn’t need an MBA to figure out how we’ve spent money. We also bring our work to life through photos, videos, and stories.
What does this mean in practice?