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NGO Benchmarking

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) benchmarking certification audits from SGS provide an impartial assessment of the compliance level of an NGO with international best practices and establish a framework towards continuous improvement.

The application of a voluntary standard of NGO accountability aims to assess performance and compliance levels against a comprehensive set of objectively measurable criteria, organized under different perspectives so as to be “readable” by any stakeholder. Quantifying results enables progress measurements at regular intervals, and this can be translated into an internal management tool for continuous improvement purposes.

By applying such a system, the grantee can detect risks and weaknesses and correct them before it is too late. This should be paramount for those grantors preoccupied by the transparent, efficient and effective use of their financing.

Benefits of the SGS NGO Benchmarking Certification Audit

Ensuring the transparency, integrity and performance of an NGO is of crucial importance to stakeholders such as donors, beneficiaries, contractors or local authorities. Second-party audits, where the auditors have a stake in the organization they are auditing, do not always guarantee strict objectivity. A neutral third-party audit is the best way of providing an impartial, comprehensive understanding of an NGO’s accountability.

The audit we conduct establishes a clear reference framework which can be used as the basis for future audits to measure how the NGO has improved. It can also be used to help position the NGO against other organizations working in the same sector or region.

The NGO Benchmarking methodology

Our NGO benchmarking standard has been designed to provide independent assessment of an NGO’s conformity to international best practice and to demonstrate its mastery of risk. We assess performance against 101 objectively verifiable indicators, which have been selected from major codes and international standards. We then group these into four key perspectives:

  1. Dimensions of best practices:
    • Governing body
    • Strategic framework
    • Integrity management
    • Communication, Advocacy and public image
    • Human resources
    • Fund-raising, resources allocation and financial controls
    • Operations
    • Outcomes 
    • Continuous improvement
  2. Contributors’ expectations
  3. Management components
  4. Continuous improvement

Ratings are then provided for each indicator and consolidated by perspective in the final audit report. The scope of the audit is defined by the client, with on-site interviews and documentary checks conducted to generate the following results:

  • Detailed scores for each perspective
  • Indication of strengths and improvement opportunities
  • Recommendations, corrective and preventive actions

Before submitting the final audit report, we first validate all results with the audited organization. Any organization which obtains a mark of 70% or above and shows no major non-conformity is then awarded an NGO Benchmarking Certificate.

Contact us to find out more about how NGO benchmarking services from SGS can provide a comprehensive neutral assessment of NGO accountability.

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NGO Benchmarking Standard NGO Benchmarking Standard(PDF 164 KB) ...
NGO BenchmarkingTestimonialsNGO Benchmarking Testimonials ...


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