by Geoffrey Gursel, Director and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Treasury & Trade Solutions Sales, and John B. Finnigan, Head of Development Organizations, Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi
A new breed of executives has infiltrated the executive offices and finance departments of humanitarian and social aid organisations in recent years. Fondly referred to as ‘bridgers’, they are managers who have migrated from the world of profit-driven enterprises to the not-for-profit universe of NGOs and similar entities. These managers typically bring with them insights into advanced financial and cash management practices that transcend operating differences between the workplaces they’ve left behind and the ones they’ve joined.
Their motives for shifting vary. Some are driven by situational events such as 9/11 or the fallout of a global financial downturn. Others have chosen to transfer strategic and managerial skills honed during successful careers in the corporate world to social causes that are important to them.
Calls for accountability
Whatever their reasons for change these executives often find that the pressures of meeting earnings and shareholder expectations are replaced by the financial expectations of a new set of stakeholders. These include aid donors who want assurances that their financial contributions are used wisely and responsibly. Whether these donors are government agencies, private corporations, or philanthropic foundations, they typically seek accountability and transparency into how the funds they provide are disbursed, tracked and managed.