Nonprofits are accountable to several groups, such as:
- Donors: As the ones funding programs, they should be kept informed about how their money is being spent.
- IRS: As part of the compliance element of accountability. Nonprofits must complete a 990 tax form on an annual basis and if they spend over $500,000 on a fiscal year, they must also complete an audit.
- Staff: Organizational policies such as compensation policies, HR practices and employee manuals ensure clarity and mitigate disagreements.
- Constituents: This includes anyone impacted by the programs that a nonprofit organization conducts.
Based on what we’ve learned throughout this class and particularly during that last half of this session, I believe that constituents should be at the top of the list in terms of who nonprofits are accountable to. It has come up several times during this course, that “the mission must always come first”. This is what the ED has to consider when determining whether or not the organization should conduct a particular program or if certain funding should be accepted (does it serve our mission?). Since an organization’s mission is to positively impact its chosen constituents and/or their communities, shouldn’t they be a priority in terms of accountability? Shouldn’t they, similar to the mission, come first?
Unfortunately, at this time, priority is given to those with power (money).