Reorganization of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) based on Law 4873/2021: How JSL Advisors can help with reorganization according to the Law

Reorganization of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) based on Law 4873/2021: How JSL Advisors can help with reorganization according to the Law

In a world driven by compassion and the desire for positive change, charities play a critical role in addressing the needs of vulnerable groups and improving their quality of life, such as orphans, the disabled, immigrants or animals. However, the challenges faced by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) often extend beyond their core mission, including procedural complexities and complex financial procedures. Law 4873/2021 defines for the first time the functional and organizational framework  of Voluntary Organizations, which it now names as Citizens’ Society Organizations (CSOs) as well as the manner of their registration in the Public Database and the Special Registry

JSL Advisors, committed to promoting sustainable development and impactful change, offers a unique opportunity for CSOs to reorganize, based on the requirements of the Law. By helping them organize their structures, getting adapted to modern ways of management and operation, recording, improving and standardizing operational processes, aiming for their ISO Certification by an International Accredited Body and strengthening their financial departments, we aim to enable the organizations to maximize their impact and better serve their beneficiaries, while at the same time adopting transparent processes to provide strong guarantees to their noble donors and ensure their legitimate operation.

Ideal operating mode of the Organization and job descriptions

In order to ensure the effective and efficient operation of CSO dedicated to improving the standard of living of a specific social group, it is imperative to establish an ideal mode of operation based on international “best practices” as well as the provisions of the Law. This model will include a well-structured organizational framework with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. At the core of this ideal operating mode  will be a dedicated leadership team, including an Executive Director, responsible for strategic planning, partnership development and overall management. The team will also include a Project Manager to oversee the implementation of the projects and ensure their alignment with the mission of the CSO. A Fundraising Manager will focus on fundraising and the financial viability of the Organization. In addition, a Social Services Coordinator will play a central role in coordinating support services for beneficiaries. These positions require candidates with strong leadership, communication and project management skills, along with a deep commitment to the cause of the CSO. A combination of educational backgrounds, including experts in mental health, social work, business administration, or other related fields, will contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Current operating mode and Staff Evaluation

A thorough evaluation of the existing structures in CSOs reveals a variety of modes of operation and qualifications of staff. While some organizations exhibit a structured approach with defined management & organizational roles, others operate under weaker structures. Existing staff profiles vary widely, with some staff holding degrees in social work, psychology or related fields, while others may not have formal qualifications but offer invaluable practical experience. These CSOs are often based on passionate individuals who are driven by a strong sense of empathy and commitment to their purpose. However, there is room for improvement, in terms of standardization of job descriptions and qualifications compared to the ideal operation of CSO, which could contribute to improving organizational effectiveness and the positive impact of its social work.

Bridging the gap: Combining existing and ideal operating modes

Bridging the gap between the existing operating structures and the ideal mode of operation described above requires a strategic approach as well as organizing things, based on the requirements of the Law. CSOs can build on their strengths, such as passionate and committed staff members, while incorporating elements of international best practices. By improving job descriptions, introducing role-specific qualifications and providing development opportunities, organizations can train their existing staff to undertake more specialized roles. For example, existing staff with practical experience can undergo training to develop project management skills, enabling them to contribute more effectively to program delivery. In addition, working with our company can facilitate the transition to a more standardized business model. The ultimate goal is to align the commitment and dedication of existing staff with the structured approach supported by international best practices, thereby enhancing the overall impact of the CSOs in improving the quality of life of the community they serve. The administrative structures must be aligned in accordance with the provisions of the new legislative framework

Organization of volunteers: Securing their offered work

Volunteers are a key part for the operations of the CSOs. With the new Law, a legislative endorsement and detailed description of how voluntary work is provided. In addition, there is provision for the registration of volunteers in ERGANI, insurance against damages they may inadvertently cause, the provision of medical care and hospitalization, if not covered otherwise, while there is a special provision for volunteers who are employed abroad for up to 9 months. At the same time, the CSOs should provide Personal Protective Equipment to the volunteers during work, if there is a relevant need.

Recording and standardization

The final modus operandi of the CSO, after the changes to be co-decided and incorporated, should be documented in detail and certified in order to ensure its correct and continuous implementation.

This can be achieved by applying the International ISO Standards that will ensure relevant  compliance of the CSO with specific Operating Standards

We list below some Standards that could be applied, depending on the needs and work of each CSO

Advantages of implementing ISO 9001 (Quality Management)

Enhanced reliability and trust: Obtaining ISO certification means a commitment to international standards of excellence. For charities, this certification can inspire confidence among donors, beneficiaries and stakeholders, ensuring that the organization operates at the highest level of professionalism and assurance.

Efficiency and Effectiveness: Our company specializes in streamlining processes and optimizing operations. By guiding CSOs in implementing ISO, we help them create efficient workflows, reduce unnecessary costs and enhance the overall effectiveness of their programs. This enables them to focus more resources on their core mission.

Quality Assurance: CSOs working with vulnerable groups must ensure the highest level of services provided. ISO certification requires strict quality control measures, enabling these organizations to provide consistent, reliable and effective support to the society they help

Stakeholders’ Involvement: ISO implementation involves comprehensive stakeholder engagement. Our company facilitates this process, allowing CSOs to cultivate stronger relationships with beneficiaries, staff, donors and volunteers. This holistic approach fosters a sense of community and collaborative working towards a common goal.

Benefits of implementing ISO 26000 (Social Responsibility)

Given the nature of their work, CSOs have a significant social responsibility. ISO 26000 provides guidance on integrating social responsibility into an organization’s operations. CSOs can use this standard to ensure that their activities are aligned with ethical practices, human rights and sustainable development goals.

Advantages of implementing ISO 45001 (Safety at Work)

CSOs working with vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, must prioritize safety and well-being. ISO 45001 helps create a systematic approach to occupational health and safety management. By implementing this standard, CSOs can create a safe environment for both beneficiaries and staff.

Advantages of implementing ISO 14001 (Environmental Management)

CSOs, given the climate crisis, should focus on sustainable development and environmental conservation and thus can benefit from ISO 14001. This standard provides a framework for organizations to manage their environmental impact, reduce waste and promote environmentally friendly practices.

Benefits of implementing ISO 31000 (Risk Management)

CSOs dealing with vulnerable and sensitive social groups often face unique risks. ISO 31000 guides organizations in implementing effective risk management processes. By identifying and addressing potential risks, CSOs can ensure the safety and well-being of their beneficiaries.

Advantages of implementing ISO 37001 (Prevention of Corruption/Bribery)

Maintaining character integrity is critical for CSOs. ISO 37001 helps organizations prevent bribery and corruption. Applying this standard can protect a CSO’s reputation and ensure that resources are used for their intended purposes.

It is obvious, as we have mentioned above, that the integration of some of the above ISOs or all of them is up to the respective OKiP, in combination with its mission and its needs

Advantages of Organization of the Finance function

Transparency and accountability: CSOs rely heavily on financial support from donors and sponsors. By organizing their financial departments, we enable these organizations to maintain accurate and transparent financial records. This ensures that funds are allocated appropriately and donors have confidence in the organization’s financial management.

Taxation: CSOs are subject to special tax treatment, with regard to donations from individuals or Private Law Persons as well as the collection of rents from real estate, the appropriation of real estate, real estate taxes as well as the payment of vehicle registration fees that they use, as well as the sale goods without VAT at events, based on the corresponding provisions of the new Law. This complex tax framework must be checked by our advisers for its faithful observance and the timely and correct payment of the relevant taxes

Tax Advisor Oversight: Working with tax advisors ensures compliance with complex tax regulations. Our company works together with CSOs to create robust financial reporting systems, facilitating the accurate preparation and review of financial statements. This not only prevents legal issues but also enhances the reputation of the organization.

Strategic Financial Planning: Effective financial departments enable CSOs to strategically allocate resources. With our help, these organizations can develop long-term financial plans, optimize budget allocation and diversify funding sources. This, in turn, enables them to expand their reach and impact.

Grant and funding opportunities: Many funding opportunities require CSOs to submit audited financial statements. A well-organized finance department can expedite the grant application process, opening doors to additional funding streams and partnerships. In addition, a Chartered Accountant’s Report must be submitted, if the CSO wishes to be registered in the Special Register, in order to be able to receive state grants of more than €50,000

Conclusion

In a world where the most vulnerable members of society are often in need of the most help, NGOs that support such social groups are a beacon of hope. However, their efforts may be hindered by administrative challenges and financial complexities while at the same time the adaptation of their structure and operating mode to the requirements of Law 4873/2021 is imposed. Our company, dedicated to making a meaningful difference, offers multi-disciplinary solutions. Through operational improvement, the implementation of various ISOs and the organization of the financial department, we enable these charities to operate with unparalleled efficiency, transparency and accountability, meeting all their Legal obligations. By joining hands, CSOs can focus more on their core mission — bringing positive change to the lives of those who need it most. Together, we can create a world where the power of compassion and professionalism come together to make a positive impact on our society.

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