Monday, May 30, 2011

Monitoring Agencies Evaluate Global Trends

International Committee on Fundraising Organizations              
ICFO – the association of national monitoring agencies

Press Release Amsterdam, 25th May 2011

Monitoring agencies evaluate global charity trends

New fundraising methods create chances and challenges 

New fundraising techniques provide promising potentials for charitable organisations worldwide, but also significant risks for donors and serious charities. This twofold message was presented at the annual conference of ICFO, the worldwide association of national agencies monitoring charitable organizations. ICFO members and guests met in Zurich/Switzerland on 20th and 21st May 2011 to discuss “Global Charity Trends” and their relevance for “watchdog” organizations which provide independent donor advice.

“With stagnant levels of giving, the charity sector needs to find ways to engage with younger audiences and technology could be key”, postulated John Low, Chief Executive of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF, London) at the conference. CAF research found that 43% of British people feel “comfortable” with donating online but in fact only 2% of the money donated to charity in 2010 was donated online. Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Arlington/VA, USA), stated that new fundraising techniques like SMS donations or online giving platforms are less supervised by government and therefore create an increased need of independent review for accuracy and transparency to be done by independent “watchdog” and accreditation agencies. He encouraged independent monitoring agencies to find new ways and more effective ways to provide donors with their valuable information, because “85% of U.S. donors say they care about nonprofit performance but only 35% do any research on any gift they make.”

The public part of the conference was joined by 120 charity experts. Konrad Specker, Head of Department Institutional Partnerships of The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) presented the selection process for Swiss charities to be financially supported by SDC. Ruerd Ruben, Director Policy and Operations Evaluation Department, IOB, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands explained how development agencies could measure the effectiveness of their activities to reduce poverty and be accountable. ICFO members and guests from Swiss non-profit organizations also discussed new models to evaluate and to report on charity effectiveness, such as the reporting framework “Charting Impact” which has recently been established in the U.S. by the ICFO member BBB Wise Giving Alliance and two partner organizations.

As a new supporting member ICFO welcomed the One World Trust from London, United Kingdom. “OWT brings into the network of ICFO 60 years of experience in researching and promoting accountability from an independent status. Its worldwide map on CSO self-regulatory schemes is a unique and most valuable information source in the field of nonprofit accountability”, said Rollin van Broekhoven, President of ICFO in Zurich.

At the Annual Meeting 2011 ICFO also decided to sign a joint statement of international NGOs and association on the second draft of the Cambodian Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations. The proposed NGO legislation would give far-reaching power to the Cambodian authorities to control the rights of citizens to organize and express themselves.

ICFO was established in 1958. Its members have sophisticated national and common international standards for good governance and management of charities.

For more information, please contact: Adri Kemps, Secretary General ICFO (tel.+31 (20) 417 00 03)