M ango is a UK-registered charity that exists to help NGOs strengthen their financial management. They make available publications, training and staff recruitment. In furtherance of its objectives, Mango has posted its "Guide of Financial Management for NGOs" . The major sponsors for Mango's Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs are the European Commission Humanitarian Office, Oxfam GB, the British Red Cross Society, Christian Aid, CAFOD, QuickBooks and PwC - Links to all of these sponsors can be found at Mango's site.
Mangos' web site states:
"Mango's Guide provides practical advice to everyone working with NGOs, to help them use their funds effectively to meet beneficiaries' real needs. It is based on a real understanding of what NGOs do, from Mango's experience of working with NGOs around the world, in the field and in head office."
There are five sections on Mango's Guide and they are described as follows:
" Introduction - key responsibilities for trustees, senior managers, finance staff and donors. Principles of financial management for NGOs.
Getting the Basics Right - the building blocks: keeping accounts, financial planning, financial monitoring and maintaining control. Also: working with beneficiaries, managing audits and legal requirements.
Advanced Issues - financial sustainability, working with donors, giving and receiving grants, accountability (including cost-effectiveness) and overseeing controls.
What NGOs Do - a short introduction to what NGOs do and what this means for managing their work. The important implications for managing NGOs are summed up as two golden rules.
Resources - practical resources available to download and use, including Mango's highly-rated training manual, a complete financial system and Mango's Health Check, available in five different languages."
For example, under the "Trustee responsibility" section in the introduction, Mango gives a very clear and concise explanation of what those responsibilities are.
"Trustees have overall responsibility for using an NGO's resources to achieve its objectives. They have to pay careful attention to financial affairs. They also have to make sure that senior managers take financial management seriously. Good financial management starts with the board. "
It also provides "a checklist of trustees' main financial management responsibilities". They focus on overseeing the organisation, rather than hands-on management, and include:
"Making sure that funds are used to help beneficiaries effectively;
Making sure that the organisation has enough funding;
Making sure that the organisation has effective senior management;
Making sure that the organisation operates within the law;
Making sure that the board can handle its responsibilities effectively. "
A brief description of the Senior Managers' responsibilities as set out by the Mango site also gives a good picture of the type of useful information that can be found there. Time and space does not allow me to set that information out in detail, so I shall merely list the topic headings below:
1. Making sure that funds are used to help beneficiaries effectively
2. Making sure that the organisation has enough funding
3. Making sure that the organisation has effective senior management
4. Making sure that the organisation operates within the law
5. Making sure that the board can handle its responsibilities effectively"
The causes of most failures by those NGOs that due fail are related to poor governance and management. Spending some time going through the web pages of Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs is definitely well worth the effort.
Mango's Guide of Financial Management for NGOs