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Donor engagement and accountability

The standards in this category focus on engagement with and accountability to institutional donors, who provide more than 70 percent of CRS’ operating revenue.

The donor engagement and accountability standards build on the understanding that CRS needs to cultivate donor relationships long before we design a proposal or implement a project. Strong donor relationships increase the likelihood of securing funding for the kinds of projects we know will have a positive impact, and help us advocate for a realistic project scope, budget and timeframe. Strong relationships also help CRS manage projects more effectively: when we have the donor’s confidence, it is easier to make evidence‐based adjustments.

The donor engagement and accountability standards are applicable to all institutional donor‐funded projects, and all staff involved in donor engagement and accountability activities.  While some staff have explicit donor responsibilities—CRS headquarters staff are responsible for centrally-managed donor relationships, and senior field staff are responsible for representing CRS and individual projects with local donor offices—a wide range of other staff and partners also engage with donors.

CRS has extensive guidance related to positioning with donors and identifying and preparing for competitive funding opportunities. The project management standards reference and complement this guidance while focusing more narrowly on critical aspects of donor engagement and accountability that affect the quality of projects and CRS’ effectiveness in managing them, namely:

  • Timely and strategic donor engagement to influence specific funding opportunities.
  • Ensuring that both CRS and partner staff comply with donor requirements.
  • Leveraging ongoing projects to highlight CRS and partner strengths and added value.