Corrupt practices seem to be rife in organisations that receive money into a pool of funds, from which they are then charged with distributing these funds in a judicious way for a good cause.
From charities to sporting bodies to political parties, the charitable public and business sponsors stand aghast at the sheer cheek of some of the behaviours shown by individuals who have access to pooled funds.
Yet, we can also imagine how tempting it must be for individuals within these organisations to dip into that pot of gold when it is large enough and complicated enough to appear to mask any transgression or even reinforce their greedy behaviours.
Who hasn’t heard stories of first class travel, lavish parties, gold-plated bathrooms, five star hotels, restaurants and so on – and these are often just the tip of the iceberg.
Our collective challenge is therefore how can we help individuals to more easily resist the temptation to dip into this “pot of gold”, as well as help ensure that these organisations more effectively utilise the monies given to them.
One idea that springs to mind for me is to create publicly accessible internet based reporting. The purpose being to enable far greater transparency of the details of all financial transactions on such organisations, including clear records of monies in and detailed reporting on how the monies are then allocated and spent.
There are already many varieties of internet based service companies providing administration of financials for individuals and companies. For example, internet based superannuation fund administrators ensure that tax rules relating to self managed superannuation are met and arrange annual tax reporting and audit of accounts. Such platforms often have read-access to individual banking records to directly check that all is in order.
Why can’t we have similar administrative platforms for charities, sporting bodies, political parties? Platforms that allow the general public to easily see and comment on where, how, when and why there donations or contributions are being spent. Perhaps in future, we could imagine systems that enabled the public to have more of a say at the front end of larger transactions, as to their priority and whether /how they should proceed.
Yes, there are always loopholes and the truly corrupt will slither around to find ways to continue to milk any system that you put in place. At least, though, we may stop those normally decent folk, who are currently being too easily swayed by the temptation of knowing that it is far too easy to get away with putting their hand in and taking what is not theirs.