ICFO International Standards
ICFO has developed a set of International Standards for good governance and management for international non-governmental, or not-for-profit, private organizations that directly, or indirectly through subsidiary bodies, raise funds from the public for charitable or public benefit purposes.
The Standards cover five key areas of activity:
* Membership and responsibilities of the governing body
* Fulfilment of public benefit goals
* Fiscal control, management and reporting
* Fundraising practices
* Provision of public information.
In addition to these Standards, ICFO expects suitable guidelines to exist for public benefit organizations to ensure that the public, and recipients and donors, have ready access to sufficient and adequate information to enable them to make informed decisions about their relationships with the organization.
Further, these guidelines should be determined and administered by an independent non-governmental agency or function that is separate from governmental legal and taxation oversight.
Guidelines governing public benefit fundraising organizations should also require conformity with more rigorous and “best practice” standards for probity and good governance that go beyond the minimum national legal and audit requirements.
ICFO also expects fundraising public benefit organizations to present their accounts of income and expenditure in a common format to enable appropriate thresholds to be set for categories of expenditure and for meaningful inter-organizational comparisons to be made.
Standard 1 – Membership and Responsibilities of the Governing Body
1.1 The Governing body should consist of at least five people
1.2 Persons serving on the Governing body should:
1.2.1 not receive remuneration for their service as Board members;
1.2.2 be independent and act in the best interests of the body;
1.2.3 attend meetings regularly.
Standard 2 – Public Benefit Goals
2.1 There should be a clear and consistent statement of the mission and aims of the organization in all public reports and fundraising materials;
2.2 Activities must be directed towards the attainment of the organization’s stated public benefit goals.
Standard 3 – Financial Responsibilities
3.1 Annual accounts must be prepared, and audited by independent, professionally qualified auditors;
3.2 Expenses should be commensurate with the size and scale of activities of the organization and accord with the ethical ethos of public benefit bodies.
Standard 4 – Fundraising Practices
4.1 Fundraising practices should be truthful, accurate and not misleading;
4.2 Fundraising costs should be limited to a reasonable proportion of the organization’s overall expenditure and regularly tested for cost-effectiveness.
Standard 5 – Public Information
5.1 Information about the organization’s activities and results should be regularly prepared and made freely available to the public;
5.2 Information should be comprehensive and presented in easily understood formats;
5.3 Explanatory narrative information should be provided to assist understanding of the financial information and to enable appropriate comparisons to be made.