How to defeat corruption in non-profit organizations.

In most developing nations, corruption is a widespread issue that plagues communities and prevents the growth and development of said communities. This phenomenon has unfortunately affected non-governmental organisations a  well. In this, post we’ll be discussing how non-governmental organisations can combat corruption within the organisation.


What is Corruption?


Corruption according to Oxford Languages is defined as “the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.” Corruption is a form of dishonesty and is usually done for personal, private or selfish gain. It entails the use of abuse, illicit lobbying, and the abuse of power by someone entrusted with a position of authority. Corruption manages to pervade aspects of society even the aspects created to combat it.



How to defeat corruption in non-profit organizations.


  1. Decentralization of Power – Decentralization of power is important to avoid abuse of power. When one person or a group of people hold an unprecedented amount of power and authority, things are bound to go south. In a non-governmental organisation, there is absolutely no space for corruption therefore, the decentralization of power is necessary. Instead of having singular signatories or singular leaders, have multiple people in charge so corruption, bribery, and illicit acts are more difficult to do. When there are more people involved who are incorruptible, corruption or acts of corruption become difficult and hard to achieve. It is impossible to weed out corrupt people in such a short time especially since they can be very unassuming. However, what we can do is make it impossible or extremely hard for them to be corrupt.


  1. Creating a Fair and Just System – Most Non-governmental organizations are born to fill a need the government failed to address. A lot of NGOs are born because of the corrupt nature of the countries government. After all, one of the causing agents of poverty is a corrupt government. However, by creating a fair and just system that makes corruption difficult, we are able to curb corruption without even lifting a finger. This point blends into our previous. While it is good to weed out corrupt people, it is pointless when the system itself is enabling corruption. Creating a system that is fair, just, and incorruptible is the only way to fight corruption and win. Power, especially concentrated levels of power can lead people to commit acts they would have never considered a few years ago. Instead of placing buckets all over the house, we should simply fix the roof.


  1. Checks and Balances – Checks and Balances are systems available in most governments. These systems are put in place to avoid abuse of power. In governments, they exist as the judiciary and the legislature. Some examples of checks and balances are having multiple signatories, maximum withdrawable amount, a company account instead of an individual account, and transparency to the public. Curb systems that give one person or a small group of people absolute power. By decentralising the power you reduce the chances of corruption.


  1. Legitimacy – The legitimacy of a non-governmental organisation is integral to the amount of impact it is able to have. Legitimacy gives NGOs more room to move and less corruption to encounter. Without legitimacy, an honest NGO may be blackmailed.


  1. Financial Transparency – Financial transparency is important for non-governmental organisations because it proves legitimacy.  Although talking about finances is not common in West African societies, ignoring finance only leads to inconsistent numbers. Financial transparency can be achieved in a number of ways. The first way to publish quarterly or annual financial reports to the website. Another way is to have a public and viewable donation pool.


Ri’Ayah Foundation is a foundation by Liberians for Liberians. Liberia needs our help and you can directly help vulnerable communities by clicking this link. Thank you for your time and donation.

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