Saturday, December 3, 2016

Meaning of accountability and its importance to NGOs and other key members

Meaning of Accountability
The growth and development of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has brought with it not only crucial issues of their ability to perform but also issues of accountability which continue to plaque it. As donors continue to fund NGOs, there has been increasing demand for accountability from NGOs. But the extent to which NGOs balance effective performance and accountability depends on the ironing out of the ambiguities of the word accountability.

Accountability basically refers to an organization being answerable to a third party. It refers to the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

'Accountability' means explaining what you have done and taking responsibility for the results of your actions. This includes explaining how you have used funds.

Some define accountability as the “means by which individuals or organizations report to a recognized authority or authorities and are held responsible for their actions. They proceed to state the requirement in terms which demand a statement of goals and mission which is clear, transparency in resource use as well as in decision making.

Accountability is a very large term and encompasses several issues of an NGO; some of these may include organizational management structure, financial procedures, human resource policies etc. Experts suggest that organizations with high accountability and credibility are often preferred by donors and are more likely to get funded.

Two types of accountability Downward accountability
NGOs recognise that they have to be accountable to the people they aim to help. This is known as 'downward accountability'. NGOs work effectively when they work closely with beneficiaries. Upward accountability
'Upward accountability' to senior managers, trustees and donors is also very important, as these people provide funds and are responsible for making sure that money is used effectively.

The following points will help you understand the importance of accountability.

Improved relations with donors and funders: Most donor agencies prefer organizations that have well built accounting mechanisms.

Financial security: With proper accounting and audits you are can ensure that all your transactions are secure and you are able to keep a check on money.

Greater involvement of communities: Local communities tend to get involved with NGOs that have shown accountability in the past. Communities will support your cause and will participate in your project implementation.

Facilitates partnerships and collaborations: Proper accountability tools will facilitate in developing partnerships with other organizations and agencies.

Greater employability: Your staff will continue to work with you as they would feel secure to work for an organization that is credible.

Improved performance: Accountability tools help you to keep check on your activities thereby improving your performance. Research reveals that NGOs with regulatory mechanisms are more effective in terms of their performance and impact.

The issue of NGO accountability has recently gained popularity and in the coming time will become a very important aspect in NGO management. Although International NGOs and few regional NGOs have been using various methods to enhance accountability for quite some time now; it is only recently that accountability questions are also being raised for small entities as well.


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