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About The


Less paper more aid is an initiative carried out by NGOs to reduce the burden of donor conditions on aid agencies and thereby improve the efficiency of humanitarian action. Initial research showed that donor reporting, due diligence and audit posed the most challenges for NGOs.

Why it is important for NGOs now?

Major donors have indicated a willingness to look at ways to improve efficiency in the use of humanitarian funding. A recent report commissioned by the UN Secretary General to look, amongst other things, into how to ensure resources are managed most efficiently, suggested harmonization and simplification of reporting requirements as a way forward to save time and resources and at the same time increase transparency. Major donors and UN agencies are soon to discuss a Grand Bargain to reduce inefficiencies in humanitarian action and embrace best practices. This will culminate in commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in May. We want NGOs to articulate key challenges and potential solutions to be considered as part of the Grand Bargain.

To elaborate on the initial findings we organised round-table discussions in Beirut and Amman where we formulated suggestions for ways forward. We are now analysing all the data collected and integrating the information with the outcomes of semi-structured interviews conducted with key NGOs.

Preliminary findings from the field research together with the results of a desk review comparing institutional donors requirements and UN agencies partnership agreements will be shared with NGOs at a Round-Table in Geneva on 8 April. This will be an opportunity for NGOs to validate the recommendations and agree on key advocacy messages and asks to donors. Brief Codes of Conducts on Donor Reporting, Partner Capacity Assessments and Audits will be endorsed at the Round-Table. Come and join!

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The Diversity of
Reporting Formats

Each donor asks its partners to report against the proposal agreed upon. For this, different formats are used the diverse way in which reports are required to be presented complicates the reporting process. Excessive requirements, duplications, lack of harmonisation and tailor made requests in reporting formats make reporting processes unnecessarily time consuming. The use of different terminology and systems to submit reports are adding to the burden.”

The Timing of
Reporting Deadlines

Alongside the frequency of reporting and the cumulative totals of number of reports to submit, it was found that the timing of reporting deadlines also pose challenges. This was in two ways: 1) the time periods covered by narrative and financial reports for a given donor; 2) peaks and troughs in demand for donor reports throughout the calendar year. Donor reporting deadlines are liable to cluster around key points within the year. This issue is linked to that of reporting frequency as deadlines include key dates such as the end of each quarter of the calendar year. It was reported that reporting deadlines can also overlap with deadlines for calls for proposals and where reporting is frequent, such as monthly, very little time can be given between the end of activities and the date for reporting.

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The Task and Frequency
of Reporting

The number and frequency of reports to generate was considered as a main challenge. This is due to the cumulative effect of servicing all donor reporting requirements within a given field office and the high frequency of some donors reporting requirements. This includes additional reporting requests not included in contractual agreements.

the Channels of Communication

Is reporting the best way to communicate with donors? Are the thousands of reports submitted finally read and used by recipients? Reports are not always the best way to communicate.

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Resource added: 07/11/2016.

As an NGO you can contribute to this initiative


Volunteering for a semi-structured interview
as a follow-up to questionnaires submitted if you are in the HQ of your organization.


Beirut summary report.

Amman summary report.

NEW: Geneva - 8th April Round-Table to validate finding of the Lass Paper More Aid initiative.

Join the Task Force

TOR Task Force


To be Added

A Task Force with representation of ICVA, NRC, VOICE, CARE, DRC, ICMC, IRC, CHS Alliance, Oxfam, Handicap International, WVI, UOSSM and Christian Aid is assisting in scoping and supervising the initiative and will disseminate the results of the project towards the wider humanitarian community.