– others will do it anyway
Current accounting practices for impact are still very much driven by donor requirements and demonstrable numbers. People’s and partner’s view on how helpful the intervention is and constant adaptation based on their feedback remains an aspirational concept of accountability in most cases. But in times of TripAdvisor and Amazon ratings, this is no longer good enough. The digital age offers direct feedback platforms and people will use them anyway. So we better offer it ourselves and profit from the vast and valuable information we get.
Examples of external evaluation platforms – which already exist – include the What Went Wrong Foundation that looks at failed aid projects or WikiRate that evaluates the CSR performance of businesses. Aid Watch Palestine offers smart platforms and tools to improve a dysfunctional aid system in Gaza. Making All Voices Count supports a citizen feedback platform run by 47 NGOs and local government institutions in Kenya. In the Haiti Crisis Map, information on where help did and did not arrive was added by people on the ground. Today, organisations such as the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) have become much more accessible to communities who contact them directly if advertised funds on TV do not arrive within days.
Feedback by stakeholders is instant, global and critical but also immensely useful. The new accountability practice needs to put a premium on continuously asking people and partners for feedback and using it to take better informed decisions.