Last night saw the launch of the Good Governance Awards for charities in Ireland, at which Concern received a Special Recognition Award. Concern's Director of Public Affairs, Richard Dixon, writes about why this is so important to the organisation.
Transparency & accountability
Established to recognise and encourage adherence to good governance practice by community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland, the Good Governance Awards were organised by the Carmichael Centre, supported by The Wheel, Charities Institute Ireland and Volunteer Ireland, and made possible with the support of Davy and Mazars.
Concern was an early entrant. Why? Good governance is a key part of our overarching commitment to transparency and accountability. These values are written into our DNA.
We actively pursue all possible opportunities to shout from rooftops the impact that Concern’s work has on the world’s poorest people. For us to be heard, however, we need to ensure that the public absolutely trust us to do good work. Our commitment to top-class governance is at that heart of this approach.
Our commitment to good governance
We are early adopters of voluntary reporting standards and one of only a few dozen organisations in Ireland who have achieved what is known as "the triple-lock":
- Publishing comprehensive (SORP compliant) accounts
- Compliance with the Governance Code
- Compliance with the Guiding Principles for Fundraising
We take our obligations around transparency seriously. We only exist, and our work is only possible, because of the support shown to us by people, businesses, communities and governments. That trust was hard won and easily lost. Top class transparency is part of what helps us maintain that support.
We aim to build trust with supporters
The publication of an annual report is only one element of our commitment to governance, transparency and accountability. Research tells us supporters trust their favourite charities for a range of reasons, many of which are intangible. We use the annual report – and the website - to address the most popular drivers of trust:
- Are we making a difference?
- Is sufficient money going to the cause?
- Are our fundraisers ethical and honest?
- Do we spend public funds wisely and effectively?
- Do we make it easy for people to see how we use their gifts?
Our commitment to good governance is not without its costs: the preparation and publication of an annual report is time-consuming; but ultimately we believe the investment we make is returned many-times over.
Could we be doing more?
If you have any ideas as to how we can improve our transparency and accountability, please do drop me an email.