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Below is a list of methods through which NGOs can become accountable and transparent.
- Registration: Make sure your NGO has a legal status and is registered under a relevant legal framework. Registering your NGO will not help you in enhancing your accountability but would also enable you to interact with government agencies and diverse donors. Your chances of getting financial support and assistance will also increase.
- Accreditations and certifications: This refers to an external agency certifying that your organization complies with a set of norms and policies. Accreditation ensures that your organization has been evaluated by a third party and fulfills the nationally recommended standards and procedures.
- Annual Reports: Publishing your annual reports regularly is a great way to ensure that you are fulfilling the required activities responsibly. The annual report provides the readers with details about all the activities that your organization undertook a particular year. Make sure you use images and data to represent important changes and activities that you completed in a particular year.
- Financial Reports: Another essential tool to enhance accountability is to update and compile your financial reports regularly. This report indicates your income and expenditure on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Donors and supporters always trust organizations that show transparency in their financial transactions.
- Third-Party Audits and Evaluation: Many organizations rely on evaluation and external audits as an accounting tool. The external reviews help you to analyze and see if you are complying with the industry standards and norms.
- Publicize your activities: As long as you are not doing fraud, you have nothing to fret so you should publicize your organization’s activities. You can use take the support of the press and the internet to showcase your project activities. Publicizing your activities enhances your visibility and promotes public trust.
- Develop your own set of self-regulation procedures: This is considered to be one of the most effective ways to enhance accountability. Develop your own policies of keeping records, formats for reports, trip and field reports, internal minutes. You can also start internal auditing every three months to keep a check on all activities.
- Stakeholder Feedback Reports: Start taking viewpoints of the beneficiaries you are working with to understand their perceptions about a project. This way, you can immediately respond to their issues and develop long term trust.
- Contact Information: Make sure that you provide accurate and correct contact details on your webpage, letterhead and other communication. In case your office address changes, remember to send the updated address to the donors and relevant authorities.
- Improve communication channels: Develop communication channels so that you can share your impact stories with a broad audience. You can do this through press releases, blogs, newsletters, magazines and social media updates.
- Initiating partnerships with renowned entities: Partnering with well established organizations help in getting recognition and trust of people.
- Get recognized for your work: Send in your organization’s entry for various award functions and competitions. Getting awarded for a social cause will make you appear more accountable and will also enhance your public presence.
- Conduct due diligence before partnering with a new organization: Conduct in-depth research of a new partner firm before entering in a partnership. This will help you in selecting reliable partners who have a clean background and have not been involved in fraud or anti-social activity.
- Make the list of trustees and board members public: Experts suggest that you the list of current Board members should be publicly accessible. You should update the list whenever there is a change of board members.
- Strengthen human resource policies: Develop strong human resources management policy that would ensure retention of staff and ethical hiring. Make sure the policies comply with relevant labour regulations applicable to your country.
- Appoint a rating agency or watchdog firm: Several organizations set up their own standards and rating systems to measure the performance of other organizations. The rating system can be applied to various activities and functions of the NGO.
- Adopt ethical fundraising methods: Ethical fundraising policies should be adopted while accepting funds. Make sure that you adhere to proper guidelines and report everything transparently to the donors.
- Clearly defined Membership Procedure: You should have proper guidelines relating to membership fees, member duties and responsibilities etc. Also, share essential decisions and update the members regularly.