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The business case for NGO accountability

Last week at the class I teach we had a fascinating discussion about how aid money for disasters is used in an inefficient way, usually by government agencies and NGOs.

If you are interested in how NGOs can be more efficient on disaster relief, check out AdvanceAid.

And the reason I’m writing all this is to then segway into linking to this interesting Harvard paper on non-profit accountability. The author sensibly points out that:

“Accountability is not simply about compliance with laws or industry standards, but is more deeply connected to organizational purpose and public trust.”

He even makes a business case for NGO accountability: “The greatest payoffs rest with strategy-driven forms of accountability that can help nonprofits to achieve their missions”.

Increasingly companies are working with NGOs on sustainability related partnerships. But things do not always go well, as we know. Numerous partnerships have gone to pot, or simply fizzled out, due to a lack of accountability by some or all partners and confusion over what the end-game is.

Of course, many do go well, and make a difference. But as this article pointed out recently, it’s worth always remembering in whose interest they are run.

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