¿Cómo asegurar que las organizaciones de beneficencia rindan cuentas?

Supongamos que estamos preocupados porque los niños en África mueren por enfermedades que se pueden prevenir. Queremos donar dinero a una organización de beneficencia que se dedica a reducir la mortandad, pero hay muchas organizaciones que hacen lo mismo. ¿Cuál escogemos?

Lo primero que se preguntan las personas sobre las organizaciones de beneficencia es: “¿qué porcentaje de mi donación se destina a gastos de administración?” En Estados Unidos esa cifra está disponible en Charity Navigator , un sitio de Internet que cuenta con cinco millones de usuarios. Sin embargo, la información proviene de los formularios que las mismas organizaciones completan y envían a las autoridades fiscales. Nadie revisa los formularios, y los porcentajes que se destinan a la administración y a los gastos de ejecución se retocan fácilmente en los libros contables con un poco de ingenio.

Peor aún, esas cifras, aun si son exactas, no nos dicen nada sobre el impacto de las organizaciones de beneficencia. La presión por mantener bajos los gastos de administración puede hacer menos efectivo el trabajo de la organización. Por ejemplo, si una agencia que trabaja para reducir la pobreza en África elimina personal calificado, es más probable que acabe financiando proyectos que fracasen. Incluso es probable que no sepa cuáles de sus proyectos fracasan porque la evaluación y detección de errores requiere de personal –y eso incrementa los costos de administración.

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