Trust, key in the work of NGOs
No relationship can survive without trust, both in personal and professional scopes. According to Edelman Trust Barometer 2019, the trust of Spanish people has diminished from 61% to 53%. For this reason, both NGOs and companies work on reconnecting again with society.
It happened 12 years ago. One of the worst economic crises of history which caused political and social problems, turning into a brutal trust crisis among the most important factors in the economy.
According to many studies, we are still noticing its effects. All this time, companies, politicians and organizations have had to work to clean the image that society adopted and suffered from as a consequence.
Nobody escaped. Even the NGOs, key for the inclusion and prosperity of underprivileged people, were questioned. For any partner of an organization, it is essential that his/her economic contribution get to the foreseen destiny. This trust crisis was made worse by the worldwide scandal of the NGO Oxfam, especially during their work in Haiti after the terrible earthquake in 2010.
Although unfair, the Eldelman Trust Barometer 2019 has made public that the trust of Spanish people on the NGOs has diminished from 61% to 53%. For this reason, organizations have focused their strategy on recruiting partners through policies based on total transparency about what they do with their funds and management.
Being aware of the essential role of NGOs in society, several projects have been born aimed at helping them to recover trust. One of them is Fundación Lealtad, whose patronage belongs to Banco Santander.
The foundation was born in 2001 with the goal of stimulating the trust of NGOs to increase their income and partners. It was the first project of this kind that emerged in Spain, where there was not any “mediator” of good practices of the organizations.
The task of Fundación Lealtad consists, among other things, on granting worthy NGOs with the stamp “Accredited NGO”. To do so, they should fulfill the 9 Principles of Transparency and Good Practices. To help those who want to collaborate to choose an organization, Fundación Lealtad publishes all their reports on their Website.
“The process of analysis to guarantee the transparency and good practices of an NGO is tough and voluntary”, Ana Benavides states, General Director of the Foundation. The process is as follows: the organizations get training classes, fulfill a questionnaire and their practices are analyzed in order to elaborate a roadmap which helps them to face any pending field.
When the NGO fulfills these 9 principles, it is granted with the Stamp “Accredited NGO”, which must be renewed every 2 years, after being analyzed again. The aspects to be taken into account include truthful communication, the fulfillment of legal obligations, the coherence of their actions with their mission and financial sustainability.
“Concerning NGOs, trust and transparency are key. Society is more demanding with them than any other sector because they work with vulnerable groups and it is expected that they fulfill a social need. Their management should be efficient, impeccable and undeniable”, Benavides said.
“We try to answer all these questions which a donor, both private and institutional, thinks about, before collaborating with an NGO: Who makes the decisions? How does it get financed? What is the distribution of funds among those assigned to a mission, management and fundraising?”.
This is the only way to gain the trust of the society. The last profile of the donor 2018 carried out by the Spanish Association of Fundraising reveals that 44% of the survey respondents don’t collaborate with any NGO precisely because of a lack of trust. “Our stamp is a guarantee of the important work developed by the NGOs and their high level of professionality”, Benavides states.
Likewise, financial entities play a key role as they facilitate collaboration with a specific NGO or promote initiatives to channel solidarity through easy and safe payments. Banco Santander has been one of the first entities which supports the Fundación Lealtad. “They accompanied us in every stage, when we published the first guides of transparency, when launching the Stamp “Accredited NGO” and now, when we are working on an important project of digitalization”.
One of the main initiatives of Banco Santander is the program Euros de tu nómina (euros from your paycheck), through which the employees of the entity donate a part of their wages to the NGO of their choice. In total, more than 3.3 million euros have been allocated to 82 projects.
“During these 18 years we have been checking how the NGOs are capable of doing a lot with very few resources. It has an incredible force to mobilize and add and offer solutions to complicated social problems. They face new realities without fear. That’s why we cannot let absolutely occasional and isolated incidents tarnish their daily work and the reputation of the full sector”, Benavides concluded.