"‘Very Efficient Award’ brings huge benefits for some Brazilian NGOs"
In Brazil the tradition is to give to a charity run by a family member. But how do you move from trusting your family to trusting an outside organization? A government attempt to set up some sort of accreditation scheme was seen by the non-profit sector as both too loose and too political. So Stephen Kanitz of Kanitz & Associates stepped into the breach.
Kanitz & Associates, a private consulting firm, had had 20 years’ experience in identifying the country’s top 500 private corporations for a publication similar to Fortune in the US.
Drawing on the experience of organizations like the Council of Better Business Bureaus and NCIB in establishing criteria, and with the help of an advisory committee composed of third sector national leaders, Kanitz & Associates established the ‘Very Efficient Award’.
Establishing the indicators
Forty-four different variables were identified (next time round there will be 55) and grouped in seven different categories, each of which was given a relative weight:
• Resource administration (20%)
• Transparency (15%)
• Efficiency (15%)
• Financial status (10%)
• Organization (20%)
• Legal status (10%)
• Public accountability (10%)
The first step for an NGO aspiring to receive the award is to be nominated by members of the community where it works. Information is then collected from the organization through a questionnaire covering the 44 variables; annual balances, IRS income declarations, bylaws, etc must also be supplied. The information is then analysed and reviewed to ensure that the criteria were applied equally to all NGOs.
With the scheme now in the third year of existence, more than 1,200 organizations have been nominated and 150 selected to receive the award. The results are startling: on average, award-winners have doubled their fundraised income and trebled their coverage in the media. Other nominated organizations are given support to help them improve their standards and qualify another year.
One criticism that can be made of the system is that the criteria clearly favour a large, well-established NGO. Extra points are awarded for such variables as being audited by a large organization, having an income over a certain level, having more than 100 donors, operating nationally, having existed for 50 years. For the newer, smaller NGO it will take some time to get a foot in the door.