The economic crisis has triggered a crisis of confidence in virtually all institutions, private or public. Whether you are a charity, non-profit, or non-governmental body, the burden is on you to show you fully grasp the implications of transparency and accountability. Therein lies the opportunity, or the safeguard.
NGOs, charities and non-profit organizations depend to a very great extent on pristine reputations. Not only to attract and retain funding, certifications and authorizations, but also their executive, boards and advocates. Not surprisingly, most are highly concerned with protection from risks that would see funding dry up overnight, authorizations evaporate, and authorized officers face significant fines, even jail terms.
In today's heightened security-consciousness, there are few greater reputation-destroying risks than allegations of non-compliance with statutes designed to protect America and her allies from terrorism, weapons proliferation and drug trafficking.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) includes NGOs and charities in its financial services definition largely as a result of a susceptibility to being targeted by money-launderers, and risk of doing business with specially designated nationals and sanctioned countries.
As a result, NGOs and charities are subject to some of the same stringent requirements applied to more traditional financial organizations, including being legally required to have Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) compliance screening mechanisms to ensure (and prove) that business relationships and transactions comply with the regulations.