Civil society organisations (CSOs) are occupying more and more spaces in the public sphere, gaining access to more financial and political resources, advocating for civil society and citizen activism, and increasingly influencing public policies and fostering social change. In other words, we have more and more power, but it is essential for us to use that power well, to be acceptable as institutions, to be justifiable to work on topics we claim to represent and are occupied with, to be clear, accountable and trustworthy to our beneficiaries (individuals, groups or organisations whether they are targeted or not, that directly or indirectly benefit from the CSO) with regard to our actions and the way we operate.
CSOs must establish the principles of legitimacy, transparency and accountability (LTA). This guide looks at how some CSOs are already successfully implementing LTA principles; some have established self-regulation mechanisms; some are running programmes and initiatives that help CSOs to learn more about the LTA; a few have researched and analysed the LTA and published helpful materials.
What’s in the tool
This guide is divided in three sections and focuses on equipping you with ideas and knowledge about how to go and be LTA. It explains what to do to be legitimate, transparent and accountable, how to approach LTA, how to plan your LTA, how to report LTA, what other CSOs are doing. It is actually quite simple: first, learn what your stakeholders need and try to offer it; and second, look what others are doing and replicate best practice in your CSO. And you do not need to start from zero, you are practicing LTA already. Although this document illustrates examples and presents options to help you check, plan, implement, and monitor your LTA practice, you make the choices based on what is needed and expected from and in your organisation.