Saturday, April 14, 2007

Accountability and Transparency - Articles of Good Governance

These days many nonprofits are concerned about good governance and adopting new policies as they step up to better governance. Two of the most discussed "articles of good governance" that you hear talked about are ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY. But what exactly do we mean by these terms. The Guidestar eNewsletter had as its question of the month: "What documents does your organization use to demonstrate accountability and transparency to your donors and funders?

Topping the list were audited financials and an annual report. But showing up on more lists are conflict of interest, document retention/destruction and whistleblower policies. Apparently everyone, even nonprofits, have heard of Sarbanes Oxley.

Guidestar's report includes their definition of transparency and I thought I'd share it with you on this blog. It is straightforward and should be easy for even a small nonprofit to adopt.

Straight from their eNewsletter.....
At GuideStar, we think transparency means answering these questions for donors and funders:

Is this a legitimate 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
What social impact will my donation have?
How fiscally responsible is this organization?
What are this organization's goals and intentions?

Effective means that address these questions are to state publicly, clearly, and concisely your mission, annual accomplishments, ways you measure success, and goals. It is also vital to make readily available federally required public disclosure documents and to check your state's laws, which may include additional requirements. GuideStar offers nonprofits a platform to demonstrate their transparency by updating the GuideStar Information Form and by uploading PDFs of required and substantiating documents to their GuideStar Reports through eDocs.

Marion Conway Consulting

Guidestar Accountability and Transparency Article


Bill Huber said...

The Guidestar link did not work for me. I found that if I removed the last slash, it would come up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, Thanks for the feedback. I corrected the link - it should work now. Marion