I just spent two weeks serving on Brooklyn’s Grand Jury.

Throughout my experience as Juror #15, I saw first hand how credibility sways people making important decisions.

If the witness stumbled, dressed inappropriately, mis-recalled something, or mispoke, the group of jurors – myself included — immediately called their testimony into question.

Humans are hardwired to sniff out credibility. It’s how we build trust with others so that we create the relationships we rely on in an interdependent world. If we don’t find someone credible, we don’t build a relationship with him or her.

Same goes for your organization. If you don’t present yourself as credible, your donors will lose trust in you. And just because you started out credible, doesn’t mean you get a free pass. You have to prove your crediblity each time you get in front of your donor.

Here are some ways how:

  • Show your impact. Make sure donors know what you have accomplished and hope to accomplish.
  • Share your expertise: What makes you an expert who can tackle the issue you are working on?
  • Be consistent: Make sure your brand essence is reflected in all of your communications.
  • Get rid of jargon. It doesn’t make your credible. It makes you unintelligable.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it. Don’t try to gloss over it like it didn’t happen.
  • Share third party endorsements: Why do others think you are credible?
  • Show what happens behind the curtain: What did your ED say at your staff meeting last week to motivate the team? What did a donor tell you on the phone? How did a beneficiary find you?

If you don’t continually build your credibility, your audience will tune what you have to say out. How will you be credible today?