Organizational sustainability


NGOs are fully or partly funded by donors and grant-makers. They enjoy privileges that for-profit organizations do not have.


The purpose of assessing accountability is to establish what is in place to meet the expectations of stakeholders and the general public about how a NGO should work and behave.


The assessment wants to determine in which areas the current situation is unsatisfactory and gather ideas about what should/could be done now or at a later stage.


Elements of the assessment

An assessment of organizational accountability will look at topics like

  • Rules and principles that guide the organization.
  • Internal controls (e.g. use of money, compliance).
  • Effective and efficient use of financial resources.
  • Transparency (e.g. about its activities, achievements, problems).



How to conduct the assessment


You can conduct an accountability assessment based on a assessment tool published online or design your own assessment.

Additionally, you will need to analyze organizational documents and data as well as conduct interviews.

An example of a self-assessment tool that you could use to assess your NGO´s accountability was designed by the California Association of Nonprofits.

The assessment is questionnaire based.


Areas covered:

  • Governance
  • Establishing an ethical tone and a culture of integrity
  • Financial practice and disclosure
  • IRS from 999 and other reporting
  • Internal controls
  • Audit and/or financial review
  • Program Management
  • Fundraising Management and reporting
  • Compensation and People Management
  • Public trust

You will ask participants during the assessment process:

  • To rate the organization´s current practice/behavior (score: 1 to 5)
  • To write down whether improvements are needed and
  • What should be done



Sources / Guide to further reading (available online)

California Association of Nonprofits, Accountability Assessment Tool, at: