Reflection: Four Core Components of Accountability

Non-profit organizations are accountable their constituencies and the general public. Accountability is about trust. Thus, when non-profits collect information, they make it public for others to see and understand where the organization is heading, this help gain the public trusts. The four core components of accountability as presented in Alnoor Ebrahim’s article are: (1) Transparency, which involves collecting information and making it available and accessible for public scrutiny; 2) Answerability or Justification, which requires providing clear reasoning for actions and decisions, including those not adopted, so that they may reasonably be questioned; 3) Compliance, through the monitoring and evaluation of procedures and outcomes, combined with transparency in reporting those findings; and, 4) Enforcement or Sanctions for shortfalls in compliance, justification, or transparency. As a result, accountability is not just about compliance with laws or industry standards but is more deeply connected to organizational purpose and public trust.

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