Transparency & Accountability

Overview and Some Important Points about Charity Roles and Regulations

 Understanding of accountability and transparency in charitable institutions

Accountability is about being responsible to someone for actions taken; about being able to explain, clarify and justify actions. It implies that someone has a right to know and hold an organization to account; and that the organization has a duty to explain and account for its actions. Charities have this duty as they have a privileged status because their purposes must be for the benefit of the public.

Transparency is about being easy to understand, and being open, frank and honest in all communications, transactions and operations. It is possible to be accountable by providing a lengthy and technical explanation of every detail, but if this information is not easily understood by the audience, and if key facts are hidden by the sheer volume of information then the information is not presented in a transparent form. Accountability and transparency go hand-in-hand, and involve being aware of who charities are accountable to, what the important pieces of information are, and how they can be communicated most effectively.

Key Principles

-Charities must be honest and truthful, and comply with the law.

-It is best practice for charities to respect the reasonable requests of donors and other stakeholders, and operate in order to give donors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders a better understanding of how the charity works, its clients, and it’s fundraising.

Accountability is seen to be important for the charity sector in maintaining the confidence and financial support of the public by giving an account of charities’ activities. For accountability to be successful it needs to be easily accessed. This includes the need for performance accountability where charities assess and report on their performance to ensure that they are making a positive difference in their beneficiaries’ lives. Charities need to be proactive in communicating the success of their outcomes and outputs to attract funding and to differentiate themselves from other charitable organizations. Donors and funders also need to ensure that they are supporting financially viable charities who are prudently managing their future and achieving great success in their activities. Above all, it is important that donors and funders donate to a good charity, not just to a great cause.



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