NGOs are part of a system where accountability is relatively poor and the chances of misuse of funds can be high in some situation. A few such misuses or frauds can give the sector a bad name. There is a need for enhancement of Credibility of voluntary sector.

The voluntary sector in India plays a vital role in society. Due to the substantial increase in numbers in recent years, doubts have been expressed on the credibility of certain organisations, which then can affect the credibility of the whole sector. The corporate sector derives its legitimacy from well-defined corporate law, regulatory bodies, and easily measurable “bottom line” goals. The Government is accountable to people through the democratic process. The voluntary sector is not organised and the regulatory mechanisms in place do not adequately provide us the opportunity to enhance our credibility. A self-regulatory framework, built by us from WITHIN the sector that allows for the establishment of Norms, their promotion and adoption, and ultimately certification that organisations meet these Norms, would strengthen and enhance the credibility of the voluntary sector. It would increase its transparency and accountability. It would also pre-empt the imposition of a framework from outside.

Credibility implies confidence amongst the public and community we serve that an organisation is working towards its objectives. While there are several ways to enhance the credibility of an organisation, STAPI aims to enhance the credibility of the voluntary sector through promoting ‘Norms’ of good governance and by building capacities of organisations to comply. These Norms pertain to an organisation’s identify; vision/aims and objectives/achievements; operations; governance; transparency and accountability. Compliance to the Norms is voluntary, because the underlying principle is one of self-regulation.