Accountability to the Donor


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Accountability is a pressing issue for many people – especially those who work in nonprofit organizations. Breaches of trust push a fraud-weary public to doubt society’s institutions in general. As a result, nonprofits are coming under increasing pressure to explain what they are doing, why they are doing it, and the outcomes. This session will examine what it means for an organization to be accountable – both personal and regulatory – including a look at new areas of IRS interest.

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  • Accountability to the Donor

    1. 1. t<br />Accountability<br />David Kilmer<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Current Climate<br />Accountability vs. Stewardship<br />Test Your Accountability IQ<br />Strengthening Your Organization’s Accountability<br />Next Steps<br />
    3. 3. Perceptions of How Nonprofit Sector is Doing – By Age<br />“In general, do you think the nonprofit sector…is on the right track or has pretty seriously gotten off in the wrong direction?”<br />Base All Adults<br />Source Harris Poll 2010<br />Age<br />Current climate<br />
    4. 4. Donors are Demanding More Accountability<br />2010 State of the Nonprofit Industry<br />42 percent of donors require updates on how their contributions are spent – that’s up from 30-33% in 2006-2008<br />15 percent of organizations began proactive communication on how donations were spent last year – brining the total percent of organizations doing this to 78%<br />17 percent of organizations began proactive communication on impact of programs last year – brings that total to 83%<br />IRS is Demanding More Accountability<br />Redesign of the Form 990<br />Increased transparency, assess the risk of noncompliance<br />More nonprofit audits<br />7,861 in 2008 vs. 11,449 in 2010<br />Current climate<br />
    5. 5. Accountability vs. Stewardship<br />Accountability<br />Stewardship<br />Accountability refers to an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for the organization’s practices to ensure its stakeholders of its commitment to upholding the public trust vital to earning support and fulfilling its mission.<br />In an organization context, stewardship refers to management's responsibility to properly utilize and develop its resources, including its people, its property and its financial assets. It also refers to thanking and recognizing donors. This includes organizing thank you phone calls, recognition events, and conveying the impact that the donor's gift has had.<br />
    6. 6. Test Your Accountability IQ<br />The next slide contains a brief test to determine your organization’s accountability<br />Please write yes or no for each question<br />Give your organization 1 point for every yes<br />Results will NOT be shared during this session<br />
    7. 7. Does Your Organization:<br /><ul><li>Have board members review financial statements, including the Form 990?
    8. 8. Have your CEO or CFO sign the Form 990?
    9. 9. File your Form 990 electronically?
    10. 10. Post your Form 990 on your website?
    11. 11. Post your policies, financial information, and information on programs results on your website?
    12. 12. Have a supported policy on reporting suspected misconduct (a whistleblower policy)?
    13. 13. Hold staff and board trainings on ethics or take other measures to foster a culture of accountability and transparency?
    14. 14. Have a code of ethics and statement of values and post it on your website?
    15. 15. Follow a conflict of interest policy and post it on your website?
    16. 16. Have board members with financial expertise?
    17. 17. Have its financial statements independently audited?
    18. 18. Take steps to remain current with the law?</li></li></ul><li>Test Your Accountability IQ<br />
    19. 19. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Develop a Culture of Accountability and Transparency<br />Train new employees, volunteers and board members about the organization’s principles<br />Provide refreshers and updates regularly<br />Utilize the website, intranet and other internal communication vehicles<br />“Tone at the top”<br />
    20. 20. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Adopt a Statement of Values and Code of Ethics<br />Approved by the board of directors<br />Included in staff and board orientations<br />Available to the public, preferably on the organizations website<br />Ensure it is practiced<br />Donor Bill of Rights<br />
    21. 21. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy<br />Define conflict of interest (provide examples)<br />Specify the persons who will be covered by the policy<br />Require regular disclosure of information related to conflicts of interest<br />Specify procedures for handling potential or actual conflicts of interest when they arise<br />
    22. 22. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Ensure that the Board of Directors Understands and Can Fulfill Its Financial Responsibilities<br />Legal and ethical responsibility of ensuring appropriate use of assets<br />Should have financial literacy or other mechanisms for drawing on independent financial expertise<br />
    23. 23. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Conduct Independent Financial Reviews and Audits<br />Avoid conflicts of interest in staff exchange between audit firm and organization<br />Disclose audited financial statements in a current and easily accessible way<br />Consider rotating audit firms or partners every five years or more<br />
    24. 24. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Ensure the accuracy of and Make Public the Organization’s Form 990<br />Have the board or appropriate board committee review and approve the Form 990<br />Ensure the Form 990 is signed by the CEO or CFO<br />File electronically and make it available on the website<br />
    25. 25. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Be Transparent<br />Utilize the web site to share information on the organizations finances, operations, governance and impact; including but not limited to:<br />Vision and Mission Statement<br />Statement of Values and Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy<br />Form 990 and Audited Financials<br />Programs, their impact and performance measurement<br />Annual Report<br />List of Board Members, Major Contributors and staff<br />
    26. 26. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Establish and Support a Policy of Reporting Suspected Misconduct or Malfeasance (“Whistleblower Policy Protection”)<br />Can help protect the organizations credibility<br />Protects whistleblowers and levies criminal penalties for actions taken in retaliation against whistleblowers*<br />*This is required by ALL entities including nonprofits by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act <br />
    27. 27. Strengthening Your Accountability<br />Remain Current with the Law<br />Designate a board member, member of staff, consultant or volunteer to keep up to date with the law<br />Ensure the organization fully complies with all existing laws governing charitable organizations<br />
    28. 28. Next Steps<br />Retake the Accountability IQ Test<br />Share your findings with your organization<br />If your organization’s Accountability IQ is high, keep up the good work and let nothing slip<br />If your organizations Accountability IQ is low, address all concerns immediately, get buy-in from the board and executive sponsors<br />