I am interested in understanding the best governance, structure and
control approaches for medium-sized (defined as those with an annual
budget of about £2-10 million) UK charities funding and working with
NGOs in India to deliver services in rural areas. I am interested in
the operational (spending) side rather than in the fundraising side
and in charities which provide ongoing services (like education and
health) rather than one-off disaster relief.
A good answer would consist of:
1. The key sources of guidance or advice from relevant official bodies
(such as the UK Charities Commission, the Indian High Commission, the
main regulatory bodies for NGOs in India, international organizations
such as the UN?) and other organizations (e.g. any association of
Indian NGOs, specialist consultancies, academic research?). Each
reference should include a one-line description of the organization
and the guidance document and a link to its location (not just to the
organisation?s home page).
2. About 5-8 concrete, specific examples of the governance and control
of comparable charities. These can be a mix of directly comparable
ones (i.e. £2-10 million annual budget UK charities operating with
NGOs in India) and others which may be less directly comparable but
provide particularly good and detailed examples of best practice (e.g.
Oxfam or Save The Children or the Gates Foundation). Each reference
should include a brief summary and one or more links to the relevant
3. A 1000-3000 summary of the main issues and options, based on your
research. The summary should be as far as possible linked back to
specific examples and references (with web links where appropriate).
Some of the kinds of questions that I would like to answer are given
a) How should the objectives and responsibilities of the UK entity
versus the Indian NGOs be defined? For example:
o If one extreme is that the UK operation is simply a funds-giver and
the other is that it controls all operations, what are in practice the
main options in between and what are their implications?
o What is a good, clear example of a statement of the division of
objectives and responsibilities between the two?
b) What should be the structure of the UK entity? For example:
o I have heard that some charities operate both a company limited by
guarantee and a charitable trust. Why? How does this work in
o Should there be a fundraising organization separate from the
operational (spending) organization?
o If the main bulk of the funds comes from one source but the charity
also accepts a number of much smaller donations, is it best practice
to separate the two in any way?
o How many trustees are needed (legally and for best practice)?
o What is best practice for checking out and approving new trustees?
o How many people of what types should the UK side employ (e.g. a
leader, a treasurer, a part-time administrator, who else?)?
o If there is a main fund coming from one source plus a variety of
much smaller donations, should these be separated out in some way?
o Is it normal practice to pay trustees and employees and, if so, are
there any rough guidelines or benchmarks on how much?
o What overall (financial and other) control processes are best practice?
c) What is best practice for selecting and working with NGOs in India? For example:
o What are the usual main issues in working with NGOs specifically in India?
o Does the UK charity need to have any legal structure, registration
or operations in India?
o Is there any form of NGO ?quality stamp? in India, such as
registration with an official body or membership of an association
which should be used as part of the selection criteria?
o How do you achieve the right balance of empowerment and control?
o What level of formality in the agreements agreements between the UK
charity and the Indian NGOs is realistic and useful?
o What is best practice for the financial arrangements (e.g. monthly
drip-feed of money versus annual commitments and transfer)?