Objective: The conversations in accountability were designed to gain an understanding of the use and changes to accountability in charities over time, including learning how results are measured.
Methods: As part of a larger study which investigated accountability in charities working to reduce mortality of children younger than 5 years in least developed countries, a multiple-case study comprising semistructured in-depth key informant interviews was conducted to investigate the use and effects of accountability in three charities of differing sizes.
Results: Smaller charities tend to use fewer accountability mechanisms than larger ones, whereas the variation in their use between small and medium-sized charities is greater than the variation between medium-sized and large charities.
Conclusion: Although accountability has changed over time, charities believe that they are providing the correct amount of accountability – that is, enough to satisfy the perceived demands of their stakeholders but not so much that it detracts from the mission or incurs costs in excess of benefits. However, the tools to determine effectiveness and impact are lacking.