Transparency and accountability are core values deeply embedded in an NGO. Since NGOs exist for carrying out voluntary work, it is expected that their actions demonstrate honesty, responsibility and answerability.
According to Transparency International,
“Transparency is about shedding light on rules, plans, processes and actions. It is knowing why, how, what, and how much. Transparency ensures that public officials, civil servants, managers, board members and businesspeople act visibly and understandably, and report on their activities. And it means that the general public can hold them to account. It is the surest way of guarding against corruption, and helps increase trust in the people and institutions on which our futures depend.”
Transparency and accountability not only help NGOs bring efficiency in their work, but they also improve their fundraising prospects. Donor agencies love to fund NGOs that have a clear set of rules, express openness and are responsible for the results shown.
Accountability can be classified into four types:
Upward Accountability: This refers to the responsibility of an NGO towards being accountable to funders, donors and government institutions. As an organization, you are answerable to donors and funders about how you will be utilizing their money.
Horizontal Accountability: This refers to being responsible with project partners, peers and related organizations. It also includes enhancing partnerships and collaborations with other organizations and stakeholders.
Downward Accountability: This means that as an organization, you are responsible towards your beneficiaries and the target audience. You have received funding from a donor for the upliftment and improvement of lives of these beneficiaries, and therefore you are answerable to them. Along with being accountable to them, you also should involve them with the project implementation.
Internal Accountability: One of the most important aspects of accountability is to be answerable to your employees and your organization’s mission. It means that you have ethical standards and governance structures and justify your organization’s core value.