Summary of discussions
FIVE THEMES EMERGED from the discussions. These were:
Fit broadly means finding the right systems to realize the vision.
For instance, WVI had consistency in its shared values with its 7Ss. WVI
rediscovered the relevance of the 7Ss as benchmarks of organizational
performance within the context of how these should be structured, and used in
pursuing their vision and serving the requirements of their ministry.
MASAI affirmed this by saying that an organization is basically
healthy if there is a match between its:
· programs' outputs and their respective
· competencies and task requirements of its
· mechanisms by which needs are articulated by their
beneficiaries and received by them.
A match in each of the correlations measures an
organization's effectivity, efficiency and extent of participation,
respectively. Any mismatch, on the other hand could mean:
· the organization is not meeting its objectives
as translated into program;
· it is not using its resources properly;
· it does not ensure participation of its
Participants thought the above criteria was a sound way to measure
efficiency and effectiveness. Everybody empathized with the reality of
organizations overextending themselves to cater to the demands from
beneficiaries, which cannot be accommodated by existing resources and
A common vision shared by NDGOs and the community is an important
component of the strategy that should be adapted by any organization.
This last is particularly true in the case of SIBAT that depended
largely on whether or not its members continued to identify with the issues it
The participants were unanimous in saying that accountability is a
very important measure of their performance. Accountability means taking
responsibility or being answerable for the fulfillment of commitments made to
the organizations' various stakeholders or multiple beneficiaries. Many
participants said that donors usually measured accountability through an
organization's cost-effectiveness and efficiency in resource allocation.
On the other hand, accountability to the beneficiaries meant the
achievement of both the qualitative and quantitative targets of programs
intended to improve the quality of their lives. However, actual achievements
were considered by many participants as indicators of performance and,
therefore, considered separately under impact.
Impact is interpreted as an indicator of reach, scope or scale of
development initiatives or efforts.
Measuring sustainability is a two way process. It involves
continuing the development process as programs and projects at the
beneficiaries' level, and the continued existence of organizations that
facilitate the process themselves. For the first, sustainability directly
relates to the level of capability or development achieved by the beneficiary
through self-governance. For the second, sustainability is linked to managing
acquired competencies and the success or mechanism installed by the
One participant spoke of the financial sustainability experiences
in his organization. He made it clear that NGDO sustainability should only be
talked about in relation to the continued demand for its services by its
beneficiaries. He then presented a radical model for attaining financial
sustainability through cost-recovery measures. The model states that if
beneficiaries are the reasons for an NGDO's being, then they should also be
the ones who should sustain it. If beneficiaries find an NGDO's services
necessary, they should ensure continuous delivery by paying for such services.
Project priorities and goals also serve as performance indicators.
For example, for organizations working on community-based resource management,
tenurial security for the community was considered a major indicator of success.
For others, sustaining livelihood activities was a major indicator of
Most of the issues raised revolved around the theme of
stakeholdership. Stakeholders were defined as groups having an interest and
investment in the organization. For example, NGDOs have multiple stakeholders.
They include the Board, staff, donors, partner-organizations, communities, other
beneficiaries and target groups.
The issues raised were:
· Who sets the standards?
· Whose set of interests should ultimately indicate
performance level given the often competing objectives of NGDOs? The compliance
to funding agency demands or requirements? The promotion of the well-being of
the beneficiaries? The viability of the NGDO? The competence gained from
experience by the staff? The results of the rigorous analysis of professional
evaluators or external experts?
In relation to this, how does an NGDO achieve a balance between
its process and task/outcome orientation, between its service and financial
sustainability objectives, without prejudicing its own as well as the interests
of any of its stakeholders? And who should be accountable for either the success
or failure of initiatives? Is it reasonable for funding agencies to hold
unsatisfactory performances against NGDOs and use this as a justification
against further funding? Or, is there a need for shared accountability of
failure among all stakeholders?
What is a reasonable standard? Is it possible to come up with
industry benchmarks that are acceptable to the majority of development players
regardless of what sector of society they come from, whether from civil society,
business or the state?
And how does an NGDO promote institutional understanding of
performance benchmarks among its own staff? Is it plausible "that for most
NGDOs, there seems to be a common appreciation for the usefulness of performance
assessment among its members but no unified understanding of the actual
indicators used in the process among