Your philosophy, message, and actions must be truthful, regardless of who’s watching or listening, be it other staff, funding prospects, clients, or community leaders—in fact, even your friends and family. In this networked world, you never know who the next funder will be or who will influence them to support your projects.
Being honest will demonstrate that you’re worthy of the funder’s trust. Too many funders have seen their resources spent in unintended ways or wasted by poorly managed organizations. Too many good program ideas have been undermined by unskilled remarks about an organization’s clients made by project staff at social gatherings. Too much funding has been pulled because site reviewers saw staff behaving in ways that contradicted the stated philosophy of the organization.
If you can earn the funder’s trust by showing exemplary integrity, you will win much more than short-term gains in funding. You will inspire strong, broad-based confidence in the organization, its mission, and its management. Later, if one program should falter or one individual fails to perform—as sometimes happens—these shortcomings are less likely to jeopardize the funder’s support for – and belief in – your efforts.