Gold standard of charity

Feb 07, 2020 at 15:22 •

On 5 February the Civic Chamber hosted an awards ceremony for the winners of the 10th All-Russian Voluntary Annual Report Competition for Non-profits for 2018. The report of the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko was awarded gold status and named the winner in the category “For the best presentation of monitoring and assessment results”.

This year, bids were submitted by 343 entities from all over Russia. Most reports were sent in by non-profits from Moscow and Omsk Oblast (60 and 58 respectively), St Petersburg, Perm and Krasnoyarsk Krais, and Ulyanovsk and Tambov Oblasts.

The number of the competition’s entrants increases year on year: tutorials and competition rounds are held in as many as 13 states already. Promote the culture of transparency and accountability among non-profits outside major cities — this is one of the organizers’ tasks.

This year, nearly half of the entities have raised the standard for their reports by 1 to 2 notches (42 and 25 entities), and 8 non-profits have managed to jump three spots up — from basic to gold. According to the organizers, it is improving the annual reporting competencies of non-profits that is the primary objective of the competition.

Apart from the standard, certain organizations received prizes from the sponsors of the Reference Point categories: custom expert advice from Blagosfera and D-Group.Social, a study placement with ASI Communication School etc.

In 2019 the reports started featuring new formats and unconventional ways to present information (postcard report and report show were named as the most unconventional); the quality of texts improved, infographics moved to the fore.

As the category sponsors emphasize, to strike a balance between the necessary and the sufficient is still the greatest challenge, particularly for beginner non-profits.

The 2019 competition (which means 2018 reports) saw a sea change in the attitude to the core target group of annual answers [reports]: there were more reports tailored for the media.

Report Points gave rise to Non-profits Transparency Monitoring last year. Support from the Presidential Grants Foundation made it possible to conduct monitoring not only of annual reports but also of social networks, websites and other sources of public-domain information about non-profits. Using 50 entities as a pilot sample, the Donors Forum looked into how the recommendations of the Transparency Standard in place in the non-profit sector correspond to real-life corporate practices. It came to light that non-profits use social networks for regular communications, but they cannot be an effective alternative to a website — they yield little, if any, basic corporate details or documents. Team positioning was another growth area: a mere half of the entities talk about their employees and their competencies.