NGO Research Day 2021

The NGO Research Day 2021 discusses to what extent and how technology shapes the modern perceptions of the sector, its performance, governance and accountability and NGO identities.

NGO Performance, Governance and Accountability in the Era of Digitalisation

Workshop: 17 March 2021

Venue: This event will be held online

Registration Deadline: 15 March 2021 

Please register to attend using the form below.


The private, public and non-profit sectors are increasingly affected by digital technologies. The operation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) takes place in a wider social context in which technology and social media platforms facilitate significant change and transformation. NGOs and their donors mobilise digital solutions for various purposes, such as fundraising stakeholder and community engagement and online accountability and reporting discourses. Online platforms and social media establish new arenas for communication and provide new spaces for discourses. In addition, technology transforms the power relations and interactions in the sector, for example by empowering beneficiaries to raise their voices and motivating regulators to acknowledge the effects of globalisation in the sector.

Given the significant impact of digitisation, the NGO Research Day 2021 discusses to what extent and how technology shapes the modern perceptions of the sector, its performance, governance and accountability and NGO identities.

  • Call for Papers

    This NGO Research Day is connected to a Special Issue of The British Accounting Review that calls for reassessing NGO performance, governance and accountability in the new settings and contexts of digitalisation, but also the concerns, ambiguities and threats posed by technology.

    The organisers welcome proposals that explore the following topics:

    • Performance, governance and accountability changes that are mediated by technology.
    • Technological acceleration of NGO activism in the areas of shadow, alternative and counteraccounting.
    • NGO accountability online and the utilisation of social media platforms for accountability discourses.
    • Stakeholder engagement and stakeholder voices through technology.
    • The usability of technology for reaching out to beneficiaries and building effective feedback/communication channels.
    • Facilitation of regulatory assessment and reporting through technology.
    • The supporting role of technology in social enterprises in microfinance.
    • The utilisation of technology for shaping NGO identities.
    • The future of technological development and NGO digital capability.
    • The deployment of technology for (management) control issues in the sector.
    • Ethical aspects of (the use of) technology and online communication.
    • The role of technology and digital solutions in fundraising.
    • The relationship between technology, human capital and power dynamics in NGOs.
    • Use of technology in NGOs as response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The organisers are also open to other topics which fit the underlying general theme of this special issue.

    The submission deadline for proposals has now closed.

  • Programme

    Wednesday 17 March 2021



    Virtual Room 1

    Virtual Room 2

    9:15 - 9:35

    Welcome address 

    Carolyn Cordery, Aston University

    Galina Goncharenko, University of Sussex


    9:35 - 10:15

    Keynote presentation 

    Rise of the machines: the use and usefulness of artificial intelligence in NGOs

    Hans Van der Heijden,  University of Sussex 


    10:15 - 10:30


    10:30 - 11:30

    Parallel session 1

    Performance, Accountability and Digitalisation

    Chair: David Yates, Aston University


    'The Use of Social Media by Charities in New Zealand to Discharge Accountability' by Angelitsa Nekelo and Agnes Masoe-Mauga, Auckland University of Technology

    'Digitisation of the disability ‘marketplace’: the role of social control on NGO performance and accountability' by Tarek Rana, RMIT University, and Carolyn Cordery, Aston University

    Parallel session 2

    COVID-19 and Digitalisation                

    Chair: Tobias Polzer, Vienna University of Economics and Business


    'COVID-19 and change: Enhancing beneficiary inclusion and non-profit accountability though digital innovation' by Kylie Kingston, Belinda Luke and Craig Furneaux, Queensland University of Technology

    'Social Media and Accountability - Handling The COVID-19 Crisis In Non-Profit Care Homes' by Sabina Du Rietz, Örebro University; Galina Goncharenko, University of Sussex; Katarina Kaarbøe, NHH; & Niklas Wällstedt, Örebro University

    11:30 - 11:50


    11:50 - 12:50

    Parallel session 3

    Fundraising and Reporting

    Chair: Danielle McConville, Queen's University Belfast


    'Fundraising For NGO: An Action Research With Digital Marketing Solutions' by Pratheep Bobi, Shathees Baskaran, and Rohaida Basiruddin, University of Technology, Malaysia

    'Importance of NGO Internet reporting and programme transparency to donors' by Ozlem Arikan and Carolyn Cordery, Aston University; and Ivo De Loo, Nyenrode Business University

    Parallel session 4

    Technology for Beneficiaries and Marginalised Groups

    Chair: Galina Goncharenko, University of Sussex


    ‘Digital information systems in support of accountability: the case of a social services association’ by Caterina Cavicchi and Emidia Vagnoni, University of Ferrara

    'Opening doors? NGOs digital support for welfare claimants and job-seekers during the Coronavirus pandemic' by Becky Faith and Kevin Hernandez, Institute of Development Studies


    12:50 - 13:30


    13:30 - 15:00

    Parallel session 5

    Emerging Economies

    Chair: Ataur Belal, University of Sheffield


    'The Platform Accountability: a case of mutual aid crowdfunding platform for critical illness' by Yingru Li & Weinan Wang, University of Glasgow

    'Discharging Digitalised Accountability in the Covid Era: Evidence from Nepalese NGOs' by Pawan Adhikari, Bedanand Upadhaya, and Chaminda Wijethilake, University of Essex; and Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, Bournemouth University

    Digitalising tragedy – The case of the BMA’ by Sumohon Matilal, University of Sussex

    Parallel session 6

    Information and Communication Technology

    Chair: Ian Thomson, University of Birmingham


    The effect of peer relationships on accounting related fraud reporting: A case study of a UK non-profit organization’ by Elma Lamba, University of Salford

    '“On a good day, I will miss the support I was given”– Accounting for 'the vulnerable' by Finia Kuhlmann, London School of Economics

    ICT-based feedback: the introduction of new meanings, materials and competences and a new circuit of (re-)production into the practice of ‘doing development programs’’ by Mieke Berghmans, KU Leuven

    15:00 - 15:20

    Closing remarks and presentation of the special issue

    Tobias Polzer, Vienna University of Economics and Business



For more information about submissions, please contact Galina Goncharenko:

For information about registration, please contact