Aid workers filling containers with water.

Choosing Our Partners Wisely: Penny Appeal USA’s Due Diligence Process

These partnerships go deeper than just a one-to-one relationship. We believe heavily in our localization model, which relies on local community-based organizations to deliver the work.

by Fatimah Al-Hashimi, Programs Coordinator, Penny Appeal USA

I’m sure many of you are curious about the steps we take to ensure the credibility and sustainability of the programs we support. As a non-profit organization, transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance to us, so I’m happy to walk you through our rigorous due diligence process.

First of all, let me say that we’ve been incredibly fortunate to partner with so many wonderful organizations over the years. Penny Appeal USA has been on the ground for a while now, and we’ve had the privilege of strengthening our bonds and relationships with a vast network of partners worldwide. These partnerships go deeper than just a one-to-one relationship. We believe heavily in our localization model, which relies on local community-based organizations to deliver the work. These organizations best understand the needs of the communities we serve and we work in collaboration with them. 

When it comes to new partnerships, we start by making sure the organization is properly registered and conducting a thorough background check on the senior management. We want to ensure there are no controversies or red flags within the communities they serve. But that’s just the beginning.

We also carefully assess the alignment between the potential partner and Penny Appeal USA’s core vision and mission of breaking the cycle of poverty. We ask about their work capacity, request examples of past projects, and dig into the details of their proposed new initiatives. This helps us get a comprehensive understanding of their capabilities and track record.

Of course, we don’t stop there. Reviewing the organization’s policies and procedures is crucial – everything from HR and risk management to anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and safeguarding protocols, especially when it comes to vulnerable populations like seniors, women, and children. We also make a point to engage with beneficiaries and other stakeholders to understand the needs on the ground, either through the needs assessment that our partners conduct or their own established procedures for choosing new locations to work in.

Once a proposal comes in, our team goes through it with a fine-tooth comb. We read every section with a critical eye, noting down any questions or concerns that arise. The budget is particularly important – we want to ensure it aligns seamlessly with the proposed activities and makes sound financial sense. If we have any queries, we reach out to the partner for clarification.

Now, I know some of you might be wondering what happens if a partner organization stops being reliable over time. Well, we’ve got a process in place to monitor that. We divide our funding throughout the year and conduct regular reviews to ensure everything is on track. If an organization ever falls short of its commitments, we work closely with the organization to problem-solve. This collaborative process ensures challenges can be addressed early on, fostering trust and participation. In the extreme case of wrongdoing, we can pull any support. 

We deeply appreciate the generosity of our donors and their keen interest in ensuring their contributions have the greatest possible impact. We always remind them that the true essence of their donation is their intention (niyyah), and we are dedicated to honoring that trust through our unwavering diligence and care.

We hope this gives you a better understanding of how we choose our partners at Penny Appeal USA. It’s a comprehensive and thoughtful process, but one that is essential to upholding the highest standards of transparency and accountability. We look forward to continuing to work with reliable, impactful organizations that share our vision of creating the best communities we can; to break the cycles of need and poverty for good.