Certification of local community foundations

Will no more than 20 percent of local
community foundations complete the process of voluntary certification?

 

The
Co-ordinating Council of the Local Community Foundations Partnership has taken
a position regarding the voluntary certification of NGOs operating as local
community foundations. Members of the partnership expressed their views on the
common principles which should apply to the methodology and standards to which
the NGOs should aspire. Participants in a round table on standardisation of the
way in which NGOs that focus on acting as local community foundations operate
discussed the current significance of such certification. This event took place
at the premises of the federal public chamber committee dealing with the
development of charity and volunteering on 19 June.

 

The
partnership’s chair, Boris Tsirulnikov, thinks that no more than 20% of local
community foundations will be able to obtain a certificate. The requirements
that the NGOs need to comply with significantly exceed those envisaged by the
legislation. He said, however, that these organisations would have a much
greater chance of receiving finance from state and private donors, especially
regional and local ones. Not all participants in the meeting agreed with this
point of view.

 

Elena Topoleva, chair of the federal public chamber’s committee on
social policy, industrial relations and quality of life issues and the director
of ASI, cited experience of networking with NGOs when creating documents
defining the parameters of responsible operations, openness and transparency.
The instance referred to related to an exercise carried out in 2007 with the
participation of 660 NGOs from 21 regions of the Russian Federation. ‘The
process of third sector self-evaluation was itself important’, she observed.
‘The fact that the results were published was a positive aspect since NGOs are
often accused of being
insufficiently
transparent’. However, in her opinion, the process of organisations signing up
to the document ‘has not been as vigorous as might be desired’.

 

For
the standards to work it has to be the community itself that develops them and
not outside consultants, suggested Larisa Zelkova, deputy chair of the federal
public chamber’s committee for the development of charity and volunteering and
general director of the V Potanin charity. Naturally such documents should
prescribe a minimum standard to be attained. At the same time that standard
should primarily be based on ‘the way things actually were’.

 

The
deputy director of the department for strategic programmes and budgeting in the
federal ministry of economic development, Ilya Chukalin, agreed with this.
‘Otherwise we would have ‘a dream not standards’. Furthermore, many rules
regulate the formal aspects of the way in which an organisation operates and
not its essence. Thus, the process of manufacturing an atomic bomb might comply
with various standards such as ecological ones. It followed, according to Mr
Chukalin, that organisations that did not achieve certification were not
necessarily worse than those which did. He said that the most important
consideration in the case of NGOs were the specifications that they arrived at
themselves.

 

http://www.asi.org.ru/ASI3/rws_asi.nsf/va_WebPages/EABB52D8D8AC418344257A230025FCFARus

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