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How Can NGOs with International Operations Ensure Compliance?

How Can NGOs with International Operations Ensure Compliance?

March 26, 2024

According to an article by Venable, nonprofit organizations (NGOs) operating internationally must prioritize assessing their trade sanctions controls and compliance measures. These controls safeguard national security, foreign policy, and economic interests, making them crucial for NGOs navigating modern-day challenges like conflict, cyber threats, and human rights abuses.

NGOs often overlook compliance best practices, especially when hosting events or operating abroad. Activities like establishing overseas chapters, collaborating with foreign entities, or providing grants abroad can inadvertently violate trade regulations. Due to severe penalties and reputational damage associated with noncompliance, NGOs must invest in robust compliance programs.

Key measures for strengthening controls include: assessing legal presence in foreign countries, conducting thorough due diligence on partners, and developing written policies and procedures tailored to mitigate risks.

Regular training sessions for personnel and ongoing monitoring and internal reporting mechanisms are essential for maintaining compliance awareness.

Additionally, NGOs must proactively manage apparent violations by halting questionable activities, conducting thorough inquiries, and considering voluntary disclosure to mitigate penalties.

These steps ensure NGOs remain compliant with U.S. and foreign laws, reducing the risk of inadvertent violations while advancing their missions abroad. By prioritizing compliance measures and staying abreast of evolving sanctions and export controls, NGOs can navigate international operations effectively while minimizing legal and reputational risks.

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