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Simple Rules for Better Accountability and Reporting



41. If your NGO decides to use a commercial fundraiser make sure they are registered, abide by an ethical code of conduct and are prepared to sign a customary written contract with the NGO, dealing with the campaign’s purpose, parties’ obligations and fee structure.

Justgiving—Fundraising made easy*
How to fundraise online, including a sample online fundraising page

International Non Governmental Organisations’ Accountability Charter*
First voluntary charter of international, cross-sector standards of accountability for the nonprofit sector

One World Trust Global Accountability Index*
Independent assessment of the transparency, participation, evaluation, complaint and response mechanisms of 30 of the world’s most powerful organizations, including big NGOs

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants*
Summary text version of main sections of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (more formally the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002)

American Institute of Philanthropy’s Free List of Charities*
Useful free listing of most US charities, but their Rating Guide is through paid subscription only

Global Development Research Center Special Feature: NGO Accountability*
Background and documents for further reading on NGO accountability

NGO Accountability: Rights and Responsibilities*
In depth discussion of NGO accountability published by the Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International*
Sample monitoring, quality management standards, advocacy and complaints handling from an independent self-regulatory body

Minnesota Council for Nonprofits’ Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence*

Bhutan Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission*
Code of Conduct for Staff, including declaration of conflicts of interest and no abuse of office or positions of authority

42. Don’t forget to apply for third party insurance to cover any liability that might befall members of the general public at your fundraiser event. Sometimes big events in public spaces will need advance clearance by the police and local authorities.

43. Be guided by the 80-20 principle, which holds that 80 percent of an NGO’s support usually comes from just 20 percent of its donor base.

44. A simple step to demonstrate inclusiveness could be to welcome general comments and criticisms from the public on an NGO’s policies and programs through an open feedback page on its web site.

45. It is usually good practice to account to the members of an NGO as if they were similar to shareholders in a public company. And today many online members can be kept informed very cheaply by electronic communications or bulletin boards.

46. Complex transactions or those involving many related parties are often suggestive of the possible presence of sham or fraudulent deals. If the CEO or management cannot explain clearly to members the purpose for any transactions involving the NGO, a review by outside experts may be warranted.

47. As a useful rule of thumb, NGOs could aim to spend at least 60% of their annual expenses directly on program activities. Otherwise they may find themselves facing criticisms for being too profligate on overheads with grant monies intended to be spent on beneficiaries.

48. It is prudent to aim to have net assets available for use in the following fiscal year not usually more than twice the current year’s expenses or twice the next year’s budget, whichever is higher.

49. Do not run a persistent deficit in the NGO’s net current assets, as this suggests demonstrable financial danger and may even be fiscally irresponsible.

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The views expressed in this book are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute nor the Asian Development Bank. Names of countries or economies mentioned are chosen by the authors, in the exercise of his/her/their academic freedom, and the Institute is in no way responsible for such usage.

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There are [2] comment(s) for this entry. Post a comment.

  1. Eric
    (posted 31 December 2009 / 02:29:09 AM)

    I think the main problem with NGOs is trying to chastise them from over-exposing themselves into areas of self promotion. I also think this is a real and overly prevalent issue which needs to be looked at as it sullies the waters for organisations which look to actually deal with issues of community development.

    I understand the irony of posting here whilst supporting an NGO but what needs to be said, for the people who are meant to be helped by these NGOs, should be said openly and in front of everyone who would take away someone's quality of life for a quick non-profit buck.

    I dont know the solution but I do perceive of the problem and hear about it all too often from people who have mixed with the wrong organisation. It's time to all grow up and deal with important matters in important ways.
  2. Susan B. Somers
    (posted 25 April 2008 / 09:57:15 AM)

    Governance of NGOs can be as difficult as getting governments to change policy in human rights areas, however, good governance is essential if we are to accomplish our goals. It has been somewhat troubling to me that there has not been more support for NGOs over the years in this area. Therefore, when I first "discovered" this valuable resource, found it to be incredibly useful and that it was free to all, I could not have been more pleased.
    Now we have to spread the word that help is near. Thank you for your foresight and concern that we in the world of NGOs don't always have the luxury of experience in this area. This will make a difference.

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