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.
- 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: http://www.unitedwaymcca.org/sites/unitedwaymcca.oneeach.org/files/NonprofitAccountabilityAssessmentTool.pdf