March 18, 2016 marked the third anniversary of NGOsource’s launch. In three short years, we’ve come a long way towards fulfilling our mission: to make equivalency determination (ED) easier for both grantmakers and NGOs.
Here are highlights from the last year, and some notes about what to expect from us in the year ahead.
Last September, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS issued final rules on equivalency determinations (EDs), the reliance standards for making good faith determinations about non-U.S. charities. The rules ﬁnalized the proposed regulations ﬁrst issued in September 2012, upon which experts have been relying in the interim. The ﬁnal regulations further strengthen grantmakers’ ability to rely on EDs provided through the NGOsource ED repository and strongly afﬁrm the approach that NGOsource has taken to providing ED repository services from the time it launched.
125 grantmaker members are now using NGOsource for their EDs, including 15 of the largest 20 international grantmakers, leading donor advised funds, smaller family foundations and major corporate funders.
Our grantmaker members have requested more than 1400 EDs so far, for NGOs in 103 different countries. We are growing rapidly, exceeding an average of 100 ED requests per month in 2016. We’ve conducted EDs in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese) working with nine partner organizations around the globe.
We expanded our team this year with several terrific new additions to support our growth. Sarah Miller joined us as an Equivalency Determination Specialist, adding depth to our outstanding legal team. We’re excited that Olga Bergstrom started in January 2016 as NGOsource Product Manager to drive improvements to our technology platform. Natasha Blackadar came onboard this year as a New Sector Fellow supporting NGOsource outreach and communications.
Over the last year, when our member grantmakers requested a new ED, more than one-quarter of the time they found the NGO already in our ED repository. That means we could provide the ED certificate immediately for only $250, saving the grantmaker more than $1200 in fees and saving the NGO at least two days of administrative time. We also made significant improvements to our average turnaround time for EDs.
We recently did a survey of grantmakers who requested an NGOsource ED in the last year. We were thrilled to learn that 100% of respondents said they would recommend NGOsource to grantmakers. In a survey of NGOs who went through our ED process, 98% said they would recommend NGOsource.
The Year Ahead
As we head into our fourth year of operation, the NGOsource team is planning several improvements to our service to make ED even easier.
Continuing to grow our ED repository. Our goal in the year ahead is to double the number of NGOs in our repository so in the near future, our members find that more often than not, they find the EDs they want already certified in our repository.
Expand outreach to more grantmakers. NGOsource is eager to grow its membership of U.S.-based grantmakers. In this next year, we will in particular increase our outreach to small and medium-sized foundations, donor advised funds, and corporate funders.
Making it easier to search our ED repository. We consistently hear from our members that they would like it to be easier to find information about the NGOs we have certified. We are working on improvements so grantmakers can search the repository more easily by issue area and country.
Thank you so much for entrusting our team with your EDs these last three years. Our team of legal experts, client services specialists, and technology professionals are thrilled to have the opportunity to support your international grantmaking.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have feedback or suggestions regarding how we can serve you better.
Ken Tsunoda is general manager of NGOsource. Reach out to him anytime at ktsunoda [at] techsoupglobal [dot] org