Do Indian NGOs need to make Annual Reports?
Trusts and Societies are not required by law to produce Annual Reports. Section 25 Companies are required to publish Annual Reports. However, organizations that desire to practise norms of transparency and accountability should make their Annual Report for the corresponding financial year within eight months of the end of the financial year. The Annual report should be widely disseminated to stake holders and be available in the public domain.
What should be included in an Annual Report? Are there any standard formats available?
The Annual Report should clearly describe what the organization is trying to accomplish (vision), what are its strategies for making it happen (mission), what are the organization's capabilities for achieving its mission, state its objectives and how it measures its progress, what the organization accomplished during the year and so far, and most importantly what it did not accomplish and why. It is essential that the organization also provide summarized financial statements for the year (Balance Sheet, Income & Expenditure Statement and Receipts & Payments Account). It is advised to present a summary even if the organization is attaching the entire audited accounts.The organization should also provide its key registration details, contact details, as well as information about is bankers and auditors. The Credibility Alliance has provided norms for disclosures in the Annual Report. Organisations should include all such information as well.
GuideStar India has created a template for Transparency & Accountability Disclosures. It is a 2 page format in MS Excel that can be freely downloaded and filled. This template covers all the essential information that should be contained in the Annual Report. It also makes your information comparable and donor friendly.
The template can be downloaded from:
http://www.guidestarindia.org/SiteImages/GSI template for Transparency and Accountability Disclosures.xls or write to email@example.com for receiving it by email.
How could we use the Annual Report as a tool of transparency and accountability?
If you provide all the information and disclosures as stated above, your Annual Report could become a powerful tool for establishing your credibility and support your fundraising efforts. While the number of copies your produce and the quality of paper you use would be decided by your budget, you can use your electronic version for wide dissemination. Make sure that your file size is optimized for emails and downloads. Ideally keep it to less than 2MB. You could provide options to the user to download a rich version and light version. Upload the Annual Report on your website, include a link in your email signature, upload it on your public profile on www.guidestarindia.org, the NGO information repository accessed by more than 20,000 visitors every month.
You could also get your Annual Report certified by GuideStar India and apply for a Transparency Badge or Seal of Public Accountability at a nominal cost (Annual Report disclosures is one of several other criteria to qualify).
For more questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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