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America to certify, rate Indian NGOs

The US is putting together a list of non-governmental organisations working in India that are “accountable, transparent” and keep only a small portion of their donations, and spend most of it on intended beneficiaries. Yashwant Raj reports.

world Updated: Dec 15, 2011 02:39 IST
Yashwant Raj

The US is putting together a list of non-governmental organisations working in India that are “accountable, transparent” and keep only a small portion of their donations, and spend most of it on intended beneficiaries.

India has close to 1.5 million non-profit outfits, according to US estimates. But little is known about them and even less is known about which ones to trust with donors’ money.

“We want to help change this and are partnering with an Indian NGO — GuideStar India — to create an online searchable database of all those Indian NGOs that have been vetted by an independent third party to ensure they are accountable, transparent and keep only a small percentage of a donation to cover their expenses so the maximum can go to the intended beneficiaries,” said US assistant secretary of state Robert Blake at the annual gala of the American India Foundation, on Tuesday.

There have been allegations of gross misuse of donor money by many Indian non-profits and many do indeed operate in the grey zone, not accounting for the money received.

Blake’s plan aims big: “to create an efficient philanthropy marketplace that will grow the overall sector”.

A list of non-profits certified by the US as credible is likely to become the standard for donors from all over the world.