Aid is a scarce and precious resource. Governments and charities all over the world are funding different initiatives to help solve important problems. When spent thoughtfully, aid shifts the paradigm and offers hope in challenging situations, especially where hope may be in short supply. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Organization and Activity standards is designed to help nonprofits understand, improve, and accelerate their work by promoting transparency in the flow of money earmarked for aid.
Challenge: Numbers tell the tale
As Microsoft’s Global Chief Technology Officer for Tech for Social Impact, Erik Arnold, stated recently, “The driving principle behind the non-profit sector is trust.”
How can you measure trust? You can’t. Providing transparency through robust reporting improves trust. Donors want transparency, traceability, and accountability of their money to know that their funds are properly allocated. They want to know “what happened with their Euro/Dollar”.
Answer: IATI standard
IATI is a global initiative to improve the transparency of development and humanitarian resources and their results to address poverty and crises.
It is a requirement for many organizations working with institutional donors or government agencies that is used amongst all stakeholders to share project information, so everybody knows who is doing what, where and with whom. Ultimately, by referring to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html), everybody is informed.
Challenge: Seeing the bigger picture
Nonprofit organizations are eager to implement best practices and are interested in learning about the success stories of their peers. They are always looking to refine their programs and fundraising to provide better aid and services.
Nonprofit organizations want to form alliances to work on global efforts to achieve the SDGs sooner. But how do they get an accurate overview and how do they visualize data to compare and learn from others’ work?
Answer: IATI Insights
IATI Insights offers visual and tangible data that previously wasn’t easily accessible so nonprofits can act. IATI Insights dashboards give organizations an overview and awareness into their activities, results, and finances, including connections to their alliances. With the IATI standards in use, data can be compared, aggregated, and consolidated for more in-depth storytelling.
Challenge: Steering on impact
Organizations across the globe use various indicators causing a mix of data results that may not be accurate or measurable. How can you trust your data, if you are not leveraging the use of standard indicators? How can you compare or know that it is trustworthy information?
The United Nations has championed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defining them as the standard goals for organizations and countries to achieve. Without adopting a standard data model across organizations, how can we accurately measure our progress and achievements?
Without standardized data, we will never know.
This is a first step to get there.
Answer: Increasing insights through the aggregation of data
When data is properly structured and easily reported, the data can then be used to provide better information and, ultimately, increased knowledge. If the (publicly available) published data from the IATI registry is made available to the then data from other organizations can be incorporated into the dashboards, even if these users are not publishing to IATI themselves. This will allow them to compare their results to their peers.
The Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator streamlines processes to support IATI processes. It improves data quality with the mapping of the IATI standards to the Common Data Model for Nonprofits, automatic updating of IATI codelists and an export process of the data in the IATI standard format.
That is Technology for Social Impact!
“The partnership with Microsoft Philanthropy and Threshold.world offers strong support for our business,” said Victor Heijke, CEO of Flores.nl. “The Microsoft products and solutions, like PowerBI and the CDM, enables us to develop robust high-quality solutions that we envision for our customers. Additional benefit is that we are really working on technology for impact. We support NGOs with for example an IATI Insights dashboard linked to the common data model and enable them to realize transparency to their donors and traceability of funding.”