Calling NPO Finance & Programme Leaders for an Expert Panel Meeting in Kolkata on Oct 6 to discuss True Cost

GuideStar India is delighted to invite NPOs in and around Kolkata to a meeting organised by Aria CFO Services and The BridgespanGroup ( on ‘True Cost Computation and Communication Guidelines’ developed as part of the Pay-What-It-Takes India Initiative.

What are the guidelines?

NGOs often face challenges in accurately computing their true costs, impacting their financial viability and sustainability. An NGO’s true costs include core costs (also known as indirect or nonprogram costs), organisational development costs, and reserve funding, along with direct program costs. The guidelines will include recommendations and suggestions for the computation and communication of true costs.

These would be based on global best practices and relevant guidelines and regulations in India. They are intended for use by mid to large-size NGOs (annual spending more than INR 3 crores, with dedicated finance professionals) and have been designed to ensure broad applicability across different sectors/ themes (e.g., education, healthcare, livelihood, etc.) and social impact goals (service delivery, advocacy, systems change, etc.).

Please note that the adoption of these guidelines is voluntary.

What do the guidelines aim to achieve?

  1. Help NGOs compute their true costs better

  2. Help NGOs communicate their true costs better

  3. Help NGOs fundraise more effectively for all the costs

What is the panel’s role in the development of these guidelines?

The panel will provide active feedback during and after the workshop on how the guidelines can be fine-tuned for better usability and adoption in India. A physical workshop (by invitation only) is being conducted on 6th October 2023 from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Kolkata, to bring together this panel of NGOs to familiarise themselves with the guidelines and seek feedback on the first draft.

The panel has limited seats for 10-12 organisations only.

Who from the organisation can be on the panel?

While each organisation gets one seat, you are allowed to have 2 participants. Preferably one from the leadership team and the finance head of the organisation.

What does your commitment to this look like?

Should you choose to be a part of the panel, your commitment as outlined below.

  1. Attend the workshop on 6th October 2023 (6 hours) (mandatory)

  2. Review the first draft and share your inputs on the content through the feedback form (4-5 hours) (optional)

What are the next steps for you?

Fill out the form here by 5 October 2023.

Tentative Workshop Agenda

Date: Friday 6th October 2023
Time: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: TBD

City: Kolkata

Agenda for Test Workshop
11:00 am - 11:15 am: Networking, Tea/Coffee and Snacks
11:15 am - 1:15 pm: Session 1 - True Cost - Concept and computation
1:15 pm to 2:15 pm: Lunch Break
2:15 pm to 4:15 pm: Session 2 - True Cost - Communication and practical aspects
4:15 pm to 4:30 pm: Tea/Coffee/Snacks
4:30 pm to 5:00: Q&A and discussion, Feedback

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to or