Working with beneficiaries
Beneficiaries have to be involved in planning, monitoring and reviewing an NGO's activities. This allows them to make sure that the NGO is meeting their real needs. It also helps them to feel a sense of ownership over projects, which is crucial if any changes are going to last.
Beneficiaries are NGOs' most important stakeholders.
This section of the Guide covers:
- Reporting to beneficiaries - why and how
- Accountability - balancing the needs of donors and beneficiaries
- A new management agenda - some big new ideas on how to manage NGOs based on research.
Is this relevant for finance staff?
Yes! Finance staff have a central role to play in working with beneficiaries. Good financial processes actively encourage good practice. But badly designed financial processes make it very difficult. For example:
- Project budgets should be developed in discussion with beneficiaries. Budgets should also be flexible, to allow for changes in local circumstances.
- Internal controls should make it easy for NGO staff to work with beneficiaries, without too much bureaucracy (and without losing control).
- Financial reports should be presented to beneficiaries, so that they can make sure that money is being spent on their real needs.
Finance staff should stay in touch with beneficiaries - for instance, by visiting projects and talking to local people. This also helps finance and programme staff to work together.
Who Counts? Financial Reporting to Beneficiaries
Mango's Who Counts? campaign encourages NGOs to present financial reports to their beneficiaries.