Internal NGO documents
Internal documents of a non-government organization must determine the principles and main rules of the work of the organization, such as: mission, highest governing body and the relation with other structures within the organization, competencies and responsibilities of every entity, the manner of decision-making, the mandate of the highest governing body, minimum number of meetings per year, manner of calling a meeting, dissolution of the organization, etc.
Basic NGO documents, founding charter, statute, rules of procedure, regulations for financial management, ethics code, management of conflict of interest, put in place the basis for good internal governance of NGOs.
The association or foundation is founded through the founding charter that is composed of: the official name, official abbreviation as well as the logo of the organization; the manner in which it is organized (association, foundation); address of the organization; purpose of the organization and activities; names and addresses of the founders and name, address and contact information for the authorized representative. A foundation may also be established through a will, or bequest, in case it contains the information determined by the law.
The statute, as the main document for internal regulation of the NGOs, beside the founding charter data, must also contain at least the procedures for the election and removal of members (for associations only), membership conditions (associations only), procedures for electing and removing Board members (for associations only in cases when a Board is established – as an intermediate body), division of competencies and responsibilities between the General Assembly of members and the Board (for associations only), competencies and responsibilities of main officers, manner of decision-making and rules and procedures for amending the founding act and statute. Also rules for merging, separation or dissolution of the organization as well as distribution of assets that remain after dissolution must be written.
Rules of Procedure
Organizations that have permanent staff have to determine all the basic regulations for the staff, such as recruitment, working hours, wages, conduct, confidentiality, leave, rights and obligations of the staff etc. Each employee working full time or part-time must have an employment contract, where the job title, responsibility, job title duties are specified, whereas the regulation is an integral part of the contract.
The purpose of the regulation is to set out administrative procedures of NGOs and norms of conduct at the work place. Employees need to refer to the regulation in their daily duties.
Most NGOs use financial means, so as to execute their activities – whereas some of them frequently carry out entirely voluntary activities. All NGOs that use financial means for their activities must have proper financial management. In general, international accountancy principles need to be upheld as well as the legislation in force in Kosovo. Each NGO must have a bank account and all the funds (donations) should be received only through the bank. Also there should a goal of carrying out all payments through the bank, except for small expenditures which are impossible to be paid using the bank. All payments must be made only based on regular bills or contracts for services, whereas every payment must be authorized by the Executive Director and Financial Manager. For all financial transactions accountancy ledgers must be kept (usually in specific financial software), whereas the organization must produce regular reports for all incomes and payments (at least once a year). The reports have to be handed over and approved by the highest body of the organization, and it is preferred that they are disclosed publicly. Organizations that have a Public Beneficiary status with an annual turnover of over EUR 100,000 shall be subjected to annual audits by independent certified auditors, while it is preferred that other organizations also carry out regular audits of the projects and of the overall organization.
It is preferred that more powerful organizations have separate financial regulations, in which detailed rules of financial proceedings are determined for all the possible cases of income and payments. The financial regulations contain all the above-mentioned rules so as to enable easier financial management.
Code of Ethics
Code of ethics is the basis of action on ethical and democratic principles of internal governance. The Code of ethics must reflect the dedication of the organization towards ethic principles in their efforts to fulfill the mission of the organization. The Code of ethics has a purpose of putting in place and upholding rules of conduct, in service of the duty to protect basic rights and freedoms of employees. The code helps all the members of the organization to determine roles and responsibilities, in relation to other members, partners and the organization. The Code of Ethics is a broad field, where small elements have a large impact with the employees, in work relations with other members, colleagues and the public.
Conflict of Interest
Conflict of interest is determined as the interest of a staff or board member in an action that results in direct or indirect personal gain. The Law on Freedom of Association in NGOs, article 14, specifies that “any member of the governing body shall not be permitted to participate in decision-making or discussions for matters where he has direct or indirect economic interest”, to avoid any possibility of conflict of interest. The member of the governing body is considered to have economic interest if he/she or any member of their family has a direct or indirect economic interest.
Also, any transaction between the NGO and another interrelated organization, or the NGO and members, officers, board members or its employees is strictly prohibited by the mentioned law, except in cases where the governing body decides, after reasonable investigations, that the transaction is in the interest of, just and reasonable to the NGO and that the NGO would not be able to secure a more favorable agreement through reasonable attempts and within existing circumstances.
Any possible conflict of interest must be declared by the person or persons concerned. During Board meetings, the official minutes must reflect that the conflict of interest had been declared. The person that had a conflict of interest did not participate in the final discussions and did not vote on this matter.