Back in 2009, NPC took over the work of Intelligent Giving (IG), a donor advisory website that profiles and rates charities according to the transparency of their annual reports. I joined NPC too, having previously worked at IG.

IG was set up with the aim of helping donors make more informed giving decisions. Transparent annual reports are a crucial starting point for achieving this, by giving supporters a clear, honest and full account of a charity and its work.

So when NPC launched its 2008-09 annual report a few weeks ago, I was curious to see how it measured up to IG’s transparency criteria.

You can see here how NPC would fare if it had a profile on the IG website.

The annual report gained a Quality of Reporting (QoR) score of 71%. IG reckons that any annual report with a QoR score above 70% is a pretty decent effort, so this is a good result.

The report scores especially highly against criteria looking at how charities report and describe what they’ve achieved in the year. Particularly well done is the description of what NPC did in 2008-09 and how this relates to the plans and targets it set itself.

The report is also candid about where things went wrong or didn’t work out as expected. IG has always considered the disclosure of challenges and difficulties as one of the most important features of a transparent annual report. But it’s something that annual reports rarely do: only 38% charities we’ve rated discuss the problems they faced in the year.

There is room for improvement as well – two areas in particular could be developed further:

 

  • The annual report gives very clear future plans for one year after the year-end. But the two-year plans listed in this year’s annual report are a little vague; next year’s report could do with being more specific about longer-term plans.
  • NPC’s annual report doesn’t go into as much detail about its finances in the main body of the report as IG would like. Ideally the annual report would provide more detailed commentary about its income sources and expenditure streams, and disclosure of how NPC performed against any income and fundraising targets it set itself.

 

But overall, a very respectable score, and one that’s significantly higher than the average for the 500 charities IG profiles on its website. It missed by a whisker the 75% QoR score needed to become a Top Ranked transparent charity, but there’s always next year…

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