C.E.S.R.A STANDARDS OF CHARITY ACCOUNTABILITY
We define accountability and transparency in assessing charities in Kenya as follows:
- Accountability is an obligation or willingness by a charity to explain its actions to its stakeholders.
- Transparency is an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization.
We list all Charities in Kenya, but charities with the Charitable Seal of excellence shows that the specific charity has been verified by CESRA.
Standard 1 - Registration and address
A nonprofit must be registered by
one of the different bodies in Kenya and should produce a certificate of
registration upon request. It must have a physical
address (no P.O. boxes) . This is the address where they carry their charitable
activities and must be available during normal business hours.
Standard 2 – Constitution and effectiveness Issues
In basic terms, a constitution is simply a set of written rules or an agreement governing the aims of your organization, how it will be run and how the members will work together. Every organization shall subscribe to a written constitution clearly affirming a commitment to the organization, and shall operate in accordance with the laws of Kenya. Also the organization should have a defined, measurable goals and objectives in place and a defined process in place to evaluate the success and impact of its program(s) in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the organization and that also identifies ways to address any deficiencies.
Standard 3: Mission and Vision StatementA mission statement is a statement which is used to communicate the purpose of an organization. Mission statements are normally short and simple statements which outline what the organization's purpose is and are related to the specific sector an organization operates in.
Every organization should have a document that outlines the following;
(a) The organization's mission and Vision statement,
(b) A summary of the past year's program service accomplishments,
(c) A roster of the officers and members of the board of directors,
Standard 4 – Bank Accounts
Every organization shall open a bank account under the name of the organization. All donations and fundraising proceeds should be directed to the nonprofit bank account and not to the individual accounts numbers.
Standard 5 - Governance
Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.
- You should inform the board members about every major action the charity takes
- The board has the right to obtain the information they need to carry out their responsibilities as a board member
- To avoid becoming labeled as a closed club for “insiders only,” choose board members who have an interest in the organization’s mission, represent diverse viewpoints, and have a willingness to learn, and then be sure there are opportunities for board renewals.
- A charitable organization of your size should choose a board that does not need to be compensated, therefore they should serve as volunteers, but in case there is any agreement of compensation it should be well documented and approved by all board members.
- The board should make sure that a realistic annual budget is developed.
- The budget should be developed early enough that the entire board can be involved in its review and approval before the beginning of the fiscal year.
- As a board member, you must take the initiative to educate yourself on a ongoing basis about your role and responsibilities, and the board as a whole must take responsibility for its own training and orientation
Standard 6 - Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws
Every organization shall exercise the appropriate management and controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all of the organization’s operations are carried out and resources are used in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations.
Standard 7 – Complains
Standard 8 - Finance and Compensation
- Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.
- Every organization should spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
- Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles
Standard 9- Stewardship of Charitable Gifts
Every Gift that has been solicited from the giver to the non profit should be treated with:
9.1 Truthfulness in Communications
In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact, descriptions of the financial condition of the organization, or narratives about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, use of misleading photographs, or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.
9.2 Giver Expectations and Intent
Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization. Appeals for charitable gifts must not create unrealistic expectations of what a gift will actually accomplish.
9.3 Charitable Gift Communication
Every organization shall provide givers appropriate and timely gift acknowledgments.
9.4 Acting in the Best Interest of Givers
When dealing with persons regarding commitments on major gifts, an organization’s representatives must seek to guide and advise givers to adequately consider their broad interests.
An organization must make every effort to avoid knowingly accepting a gift from, or entering into a contract with, a giver that would place a hardship on the giver or place the giver’s future well-being in jeopardy.
Standard 10: Board Meetings
Every non profit should have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.