Accountability of charities on websites
Purpose – This research shows the extent of accountability and transparency of a charity on its web pages. Methodology – A disclosure index is derived from recent literature on website transparency of not-for-profit organisations and used to test the accountability disclosure of a large international aid organisation on its website. Findings – Financial information was easy to find on the website and comprehensive. A reasonable amount of governance and performance accountability information was accessible, but internal governance information relating to the board of trustees and future-oriented budgeting and performance information was lacking. Website design included most of the desirable web design features, but the search option was limited. Transactional accountability was enabled by the website design. Although there were few opportunities for relational interactivity on the website itself, the organisation's social networking sites provided opportunities for two-way communication. Originality – This research extends the concept of accountability of charities, from financial and non-financial reporting in hard copy publications such as financial statements and annual reports, to the wider accountability that is enabled by the internet and by web page design.