Fundación Lealtad hosted the ICFO’s 2012 Annual General Meeting in Madrid. ICFO (International Committee on Fundraising Organizations) is the association of national monitoring agencies created in 1958 to harmonize NGOs accreditation procedures and standards.
This year, the conference focussed on the challenges in consolidating a powerful international network of NGOs assessors. Institutional donors, NGOs and assessors analyzed how to strengthen the confidence of donors at an international level.
Specialists in the management of public and private funds in collaboration with NGOs explained how the current restrictions of access to funds, a consequence of the global economic crisis, demand a thorough analysis prior to the allocation of these funds and prior to the selection of which cause to support.
In this context, the experts considered that the monitoring of NGOs will play a decisive role in the future when donors are selecting which organizations to collaborate with. Independent evaluation tools, such as those developed by ICFO’s members, help corporations to respond more effectively to demands for information from shareholders, customers, employees, and other stakeholders. On the other hand, representatives of the public sector highlighted that one of their objectives was to communicate more effectively to the public about the management of their resources and the impact of their taxes.
The conference introduced three NGO accountability initiatives in Latin America to engage donor trust in emerging countries. The projects in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, consist in the definition of common transparency standards and the promotion of good practices through educational programmes or analysis reporting.
Other topics discussed during the conference related to the legitimacy of assessors’, the need to balance the resources allocated by NGOs to evaluation with their work, how to remove excessive bureaucracy in NGOs, how to adapt information channels to new technologies, and the greater benefits of independent evaluation against self-regulation as a tool of information for private donors.