FMD Pro: The rational choice for NGOs

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April 03, 2017

FMD Pro: The rational choice for NGOs

By Lucy Davies

Communications Consultant

This blog originally appeared on the LINGOs blog.

In the NGO sector, there is an increasing demand for financial accountability but at the project level there is a widespread shortage of skills. Most NGO managers are not finance experts, and even those who are have no agreed standard of competency. That’s where FMD Pro comes in.

What is FMD Pro?

FMD Pro (Financial Management for Development Professionals) is a certification standard that has been designed to build the financial skills of managers across the NGO sector and set a global standard. It gives them the skills, tools and common vocabulary they need to ensure projects are managed to the best financial standards, and ensures everyone in the NGO sector is speaking the same financial language.

Why is it needed?

It was created to address the financial skills gap among NGO staff and volunteers and to raise the bar for proficiency in financial management across the sector. FMD Pro aims to transform the impact of development and humanitarian organizations, with all stakeholders – project beneficiaries, partners and donors – seeing a tangible upscale in performance and results.

Why is there a skills gap?

Organizations usually hire managers for their technical expertise in community development or emergency response, not their financial skills. Where there is financial training, it is usually targeted at those responsible for formal financial duties and it also varies in quality and consistency. Once hired, NGO managers often find they lack the skills and support they need to take on a wide range of financial duties such as developing budgets, managing accounts, interpreting financial data, writing reports, implementing internal controls or supervising the finances of partners.

Who created FMD Pro?

FMD Pro was created by NGOs, for NGOs. The FMD Pro development team consists of LINGOs, Mango, InsideNGO and Humanitarian Leadership Academy who worked with a working group of leading NGOs, donors, training organizations and private sector partners including the APM Group, Orange and Cornerstone on Demand Foundation.

How will FMD Pro improve my organization?

Any NGO that has room for improvement in its financial management should consider adopting FMD Pro. All NGOs are accountable to donors and funding organizations for spending their money wisely and better financial management will ultimately lead to more effective humanitarian programs. Also, as more local and national NGOs and partners adopt FMD Pro standards, donors will see more accurate reporting against objectives, and be more likely to fund again in future. This will be an incentive for NGOs to raise their game and a reason for donors to set the expectation for compliance with these standards in grant applications. In a climate of increased completion for grant funding, better financial management really is the rational choice!

How will it improve the NGO sector?

FMD Pro’s vision extends to raising standards of financial management across the NGO sector. If an increasing number of local, national and international NGOs adhere to these standards, and training organizations adopt this model and approach, there is potential for FMD Pro to set the standard for development and humanitarian professionals everywhere. As with PMD Pro, achieving professional certification will also help embed standards, with an increasing number of organizations recognizing this qualification in their recruitment policy and practice.

Will it definitely be a success?

Based on the impact of its sister product, PMD Pro, we have every reason to believe it will be a success. PMD Pro (Project Management for Development Professionals) remains unmatched in terms of quality, accessibility and scale, has over 15,000 certified professionals in over 140 countries, has been translated into four languages (with three more to come) and is adopted as standard for project management by NGOs and training organizations alike.

Similarly, FMD Pro draws on the best experience from NGOs and trainers, as well as the intellectual capital and standards of the private sector. Its learning materials are accessible, affordable and designed for use at a project level, including remote locations. It provides individual learners with free online content and certification specifically for low-income applicants to gain accreditation and offers consultancy, training and support. With all this on offer, there is every reason for FMD Pro to be as successful as the tried-and-tested PMD Pro, transforming the way NGOs work.

Where can I find out more?

FMD Pro was launched in March 2017 and its learning materials are freely available at www.fmdpro.org, based on an open-source Creative Commons license. These include:

Guide to FMD Pro – contextualized body of knowledge.

FMD Pro Online Learning Development – modules that build the skills of non-finance mangers that require little or no facilitation. – Available May 2017

FMD Pro Starter – fmdprostarter.org – an online ‘how to’ resource with tools and techniques for local use and adaptation. – Available May 2017

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