How to Spend Charity Money Transparently

Just like any other working professional, you earn a decent salary that covers all your basic expenses. Your children are well taken care of, they go to a decent school and are safe from abuse. All this is possible thanks to your hard work at the NGO you work for. You strive by all means to ensure funds cover all NGO costs.

Let’s create a fictitious example: Meet Sofia, a 10-year-old little girl rescued from abusive parents. When Sofia was about 10 months old, she was admitted to the Homes For Children. Her parents were charged with child abuse and sent to jail. The abuse left Sofia a paraplegic, she  uses a wheelchair. She now depends on your NGO for food and clothing. Every single cent wasted on extravagance only leaves Sofia further behind. What are your 2017 plans on cutting down your NGO costs?

There’s a correlation between how NGOs spend funds and their impact on the community. NGOs that don’t make a tangible impact, rank lower and may find it hard to secure future funding. They might have to prepare to close doors which could leave children like Sofia homeless.

Donors’ expectations are that all purchases are duly authorized and approved before goods are ordered. Also that all the transactions are accurately documented and suppliers are paid within the agreed terms.

The only way of assuring donors that their money is well-spent is by being transparent. Here is how to achieve it:

Be in control of donated funds

According to Procurement and Supply, donors prefer collaborating with NGOs to improve their supply chain system and to minimize risk. For example, Unilever partnered with Solidaridad to meet its commitment to improving 1 million lives. You should expect more of this approach with most of your funders. The Days of receiving funds and spend them as you wish have long come to an end.

Transparency has become key and lack thereof may mean, Sofia and children like her will find themselves in the streets. This will be like reversing all the good work your NGO has already achieved so far.   

The very first step in making sure that funds are responsibly spent is by adopting a user-friendly PO system. Next step: assign this crucial task to someone attentive to detail.

Donors need to see tangible evidence that their funds are doing good and that your NGO is spending their funds responsibly.procurementexpress a purchase order system

In future, your donors may want you to send all POs to them for approval.  This means they would want to see how many blankets are you intending to buy and from whom. This is where a user-friendly PO system like will come in handy. Using this, you can approve requests wherever you are and send a report to your funders anytime.

Make your purchasing transactions transparent

Your job may require you to travel far and wide. This doesn’t mean your NGO’s activities will be waiting for you to return. Sofia and other children need food and warm clothes. To keep the NGO’s wheels turning requires staff to process POs from time to time.

Can your current system process POs even when you are away? This much I do know, a paper-based system will take days for you to view and sign off and you’ll have to be present in the office to approve some of those urgent requests.

With all PO’s can be viewed by a manager, at any time. You can also track spend to see if you are still within budget.

Here is what users say:

CJ Jacob from Arkansas School for the Deaf says: “Approvals go through faster, no papers to be lost, no fudging of dates by people who wait until the last-minute! What’s not to like?”

By adopting an automated system, you can rest assured that donated funds go towards paying for only NGO needs. You can also be sure that Sofia has a home and that she, just like your children is safe.

How does your NGO spend donated funds? See how Unicef does it. Your comments are welcome.

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