What think tanks say about us

Transparency sometimes can appear like a hard thing to do. Making information available can be an extra effort. Transparency may also invite additional scrutiny. It’s thus not obvious that institutions always welcome disclosure. Yet Transparify’s experience over the past few years suggests otherwise.

Many think tanks welcome our work, and are enthusiastic about becoming more transparent. Our blog contains many contributions from think tanks around the world. Here a few highlights on what think tanks have said about our work and their transparency:

“Walking the talk.” “Practicing what you preach.” These oft-invoked metaphors speak to the importance of matching actions to words. Another cliché is “pulling back the curtain”—showing the world that you have nothing to hide. At the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), we assumed we were doing all of these things—until Transparify rang our bell. (Daniel Kaufmann - Natural Resource Governance Institute)

“Transparency builds credibility.” (Natalia Aquilino - Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento/CIPPEC)

"It would be disingenuous and wrong of think tanks to promote their ideas without being open about the sources of the funding that supported their development and dissemination in the first place. The institute is required by its 1926 Royal Charter to maintain rigorous impartiality and objectivity across all activities and outputs. Transparify’s aim of encouraging greater financial transparency in the think tank sector is helping think tanks to put this goal into practice proactively.” (Keith Burnet - Chatham House)

“Politicians and public officials in Georgia often respond to critical statements of civil society organizations by questioning the integrity of those organizations and saying that they would be interested to know the sources of their funding. We are proud to be able to reply to every statement of this sort by directing them to our website where all the relevant information is available for public scrutiny.” (Eka Gigauri - Transparency International Georgia)

"..as with all parts of our democracy from government to business, think tanks need to be open and transparent about whose interests they are representing. This is why we at Transparency International UK welcome the Transparify initiative, which evaluates and promotes financial openness amongst think tanks from all across the political spectrum. (Steve Goodrich - Transparency International UK)

"We’re happy to have achieved the five-star rating and look forward to sharing the space at the top of the podium with many more organizations in the months and years to come. If nonprofits are to be trusted, they need to be transparent, not least about their funding." (Alan Hudson - Global Integrity)

"Our transparency work led to a logical question: If it’s is good for development, what about development think tanks? What’s more, we were receiving a lot of very good questions from our supporters and networks about where our money comes from and where we apply it. So, spurred in part by our friends at Transparify and frank discussions about think tank strategy by Enrique Mendizabal’s On Think Tanks blog and Andrew Selee’s book What Should Think Tanks Do?, we decided it was time to up our game on our own financial transparency." (Katie Douglas Martel & Todd Moss - Center for Global Development)

"At Sunlight, we take transparency seriously — even our own. We disclose all of our funding on our website here. That’s why we’re proud to share that in a new report on the transparency of policy advocates, Transparify gave the Sunlight Foundation a 5-star rating." (Jenn Topper - Sunlight Foundation)

"My recommendation is that organizations that want to be credible and faithful to their cause, they need to be transparent. Transparency is one of the elements, one of the variables in the equation. In order to build trust among stakeholders, to create a proper and credible institutional image, think tanks should take transparency and accountability very seriously." (Assefa Admassie --  Ethiopian Economics Association and Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute) 

For more on what think tanks say about transparency and Transparify, click here or take a look through our blog.